How Are Social Security Disability Benefits Affected by Coronavirus Pandemic?
On March 17, 2020, all Social Security field offices and hearing offices were closed across the nation for any face-to-face work. They will stay closed until further notice. This move was made to protect the public since so many recipients are elderly or have underlying medical conditions that can increase their risk for developing the virus, as well as federal employees.
If you may be concerned about applying for or receiving your benefits, reach out to the knowledgeable Phoenix Social Security Disability lawyers from our firm for a free consultation. Below, we discuss what you need to know about this evolving situation and how we may be help you during this time of crisis.
If You Are Applying for SSDI or SSI Benefits
Although the Social Security Administration (SSA) has closed down local field offices due to the coronavirus pandemic, you can still apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) online or over the phone. You can also review answers to many coronavirus-related questions.
You can apply for SSI benefits online if you meet the following criteria:
- Are between the ages of 18 and 65
- Have never been married
- Are a U.S. citizen residing in the United States or its territories
- Are not blind
- Have not applied for benefits in the past
- Are also applying for SSDI benefits at the same time
You can also use online services to check the status of your application or appeal.
You can also apply for SSI or SSDI benefits by calling the national number at 1-800-772-1213 or TTY 1-800-325-0778 if you are deaf or hard of hearing. The representative will collect some basic information and then schedule a phone interview with you to complete the application process.
The SSA is prioritizing critical claims, which include:
- Disability applications for recipients with a terminal illness or who are a Wounded Warrior
- Disability applications that qualify for Compassionate Allowance or Quick Disability Determination
- Disability applications that qualify for an immediate SSI payment based on certain severe disabilities
If you had an in-office meeting already scheduled, the SSA will call you to handle your appointment over the phone. If you have a disability hearing scheduled, the SSA will conduct the hearing over the phone.
If you have questions that you would like to ask your local field office, they can help you apply for benefits, answer your questions and provide other services over the phone. There are also many automated services that you can use over the phone without speaking to a representative. The SSA is also extending time limits for submitting appeals.
If You Are Currently Receiving Disability Benefits
If you are currently receiving disability benefits, you will continue to receive your benefits. The Inspector General of Social Security has issued a fraud advisory warning recipients about fraudulent letters saying that their benefits will be suspended during the pandemic.
If you are currently signed up for direct deposit, you will continue to receive your benefits through this manner. If you are not currently signed up for direct deposit, you can learn how to sign up for direct deposit.
If you are currently receiving your monthly benefits by mail, you will still continue to receive your disability benefits. However, your benefits could be delayed if the mail service takes longer during the coronavirus pandemic. The SSA recommends reviewing any statements from the U.S. Postal Service about delays and other effects of the coronavirus.
You can conduct most business online without assistance, including:
- Requesting a replacement Medicare or Social Security card
- Printing a verification letter
- Printing a SSA-1099
- Setting up or changing direct deposit
- Changing your address
You can call the national number for automated telephone services. Phone services are limited to critical services and requests for dire need benefit payments, such as:
- Recipients did not receive their disability benefits
- Recipients are homeless or are at risk for becoming homeless
- Recipients’ benefits were suspended but can now be reinstated
Our Lawyers Are Standing by to Help
At Dayes Law Firm, our disability lawyers are standing by to help. We do not require a face-to-face meeting. We are ready to process the case-filing forms and obtain your electronic signature without you ever having to leave home.
We offer a free claim review so that you can learn more about your available legal options. There are no upfront fees for our services. Payment is only due if we successfully help you obtain disability benefits.
Get started today by calling our legal team at 1-800-503-2000.