Social Security Offices Are Open, but Only for Some

August 10, 2020

Due to the pandemic, the more than 1,200 Social Security Administration (SSA) field and local offices have been shuttered since March, with the vast majority of SSA employees teleworking from home. While some federal, state, and local government agencies have announced plans to re-open their offices, as of the time this article was written, SSA has remained silent on this subject. The agency’s leadership has not revealed any specific reopening plans, offered any timelines, or commented on how telework might be a part of the SSA’s future.

“We are monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely and are evaluating guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Office of Personnel Management,” an SSA spokesman said in a recent statement to Federal News Network. “Many of our visitors are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Our goal is to continue to serve the American public while doing what we can to reduce the risk to our employees and visitors.”

Local SSA offices are accepting in-person visitors to their local offices only by appointment and only for critical services that cannot be handled over the phone or online.

If you believe you need to speak with a Social Security representative face-to-face, you can’t just drop in. Call your local office first. You can use this Office Locator to find the phone number.

On July 20th, the SSA issued guidelines you must follow if you have an appointment at a SSA office. You must complete a self-assessment checklist before you will be allowed to enter. You will not be permitted to enter if you answer yes to any of these questions:

1. Do you have any of the following symptoms?

  • Cough or sore throat;
  • Fever (100.4 degrees or higher);
  • Chills;
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing;
  • Muscle pain or body aches;
  • Headache;
  • New loss of taste or smell; or
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

2. In the last 14 days, have you:

  • Been diagnosed with COVID-19?
  • Received instructions to monitor for symptoms or self-quarantine?
  • Traveled outside the country? or
  • Been within 6 feet of a person who was diagnosed with COVID-19?

If you answer YES to any of these questions, or if you feel ill, you will not be allowed to enter.

If you can answer NO to all the questions, you must wear a face mask covering your mouth and nose to enter the facility. If you do not have a mask, SSA will provide you with one. If you are unable to wear a face mask, call the office before visiting and ask to speak with the manager.

Note: SSA hearing offices are all still closed to the public, and all hearings are being held by telephone until further notice.