Social Security Disability benefits are often vital to the financial health of those with severe disabilities. Delays in benefit payments or in the application process can be a big problem for recipients and applicants alike.
It is reasonable to wonder how the pandemic we are going through could impact your application or benefit payments. Our Harrisburg Social Security Disability lawyers are available to answer your benefit questions in a free consultation that we can do over the phone. Our firm continues to provide experienced legal representation while respecting social distancing guidelines.
Field Offices are Closed Until Further Notice
The most notable effect of the pandemic and social distancing guidelines is that Social Security field offices have been closed since March 17. These offices will remain closed until further notice, as many applicants are elderly or have underlying medical conditions that increase their risk of death from the coronavirus.
If you had an appointment for an in-office meeting, the Social Security Administration (SSA) should call you to schedule a phone call instead. The same thing should happen if you had a disability hearing scheduled.
You can apply for Social Security Disability benefits over the phone or online instead of going to a field office. Those who apply online must not have applied in the past or been married before. You can also review the status of an application or appeal by going online.
When you call a local hearing office, there are a few things they can help you with:
- Confirming whether you are available for a phone hearing
- Documenting whether you want to postpone the hearing so you can wait to do it in person
- Updating your contact information
- Learning the status of your upcoming hearing
To apply by phone, call 1-800-772-1213. Those who are deaf or hard of hearing can call 1-800-325-0778. When you call, the representative will ask for basic information and schedule a phone interview during which you can complete your application.
While you can still apply for benefits, it is important to note certain types of applications are being prioritized during the pandemic:
- Applications from those with terminal illnesses
- Applications for Wounded Warriors
- Applications that meet qualifications for Compassionate Allowance or Quick Disability Determination
- Applications that qualify for immediate Supplemental Security Income payments because of severe disabilities
Benefit Payments Will Continue
Those who have been receiving benefits will continue to receive them. If you have been receiving benefits via direct deposit, you will continue to receive your benefits that way. Those who have been receiving benefits by mail will continue to receive checks in the mail. That said, you may want to check with the U.S. Postal Service to see if there may be any delays with your mail because of the coronavirus.
The SSA Office of the Inspector General is warning benefit recipients about fraudulent letters telling people benefits will be suspended during the pandemic. These letters may say your benefits will stop unless you call the phone number in the letter. Scammers want you to call the number so they can ask for personal information or ask you to send money to keep receiving benefits.
Have Questions About Social Security Disability Benefits During the Pandemic?
Our attorneys have a proven track record of recovering benefits for those with disabilities. We are available to answer your questions and help you pursue disability benefits, and we do not need to do a face-to-face meeting. We have the technology to manage your claim remotely.
The consultation is free of charge and comes with no obligation to take legal action. We are not paid unless we obtain benefits for your claim.