COVID-19 Information: What’s Changed? What Do You Need to Know?
Social Security / SSI
Summary: Social Security offices are closed to the public, but the agency is still making payments and taking care of people’s most urgent needs. The agency is also processing applications and routine business such as replacement Social Security and Medicaid/Medicare cards by phone and online. Continuing disability review and most overpayment collections have been halted but hearings are being scheduled/rescheduled by phone.
COVID-19 Related Legal Lifelines
- Effect of the CARES Act Economic Impact (“Stimulus”) Payment on SSI and Social Security Benefits (Leer en español)
As of Tuesday, March 17, 2020 all Social Security offices were closed to the public. However, according to their website FAQs the agency is still doing business by phone, 1-800-772-1213 or their TTY number, 1-800-325-0778. You can also find contact information for your local office here. **Updated March 23, 2020** As the Albany DO is currently short-staffed, they are requesting that you communicate with them via FAX, 833-950-3602.
The agency’s phone lines are concentrating on helping with the most dire needs. If you did not receive your payment, if you are at risk of becoming homeless, or if your payments were suspended but you believe they should be reinstated, please call this line. You should call Social Security if you are not receiving your regular payments or if you have a serious need, such as homelessness. If you are applying for the first time, you will get priority if you:
- are terminally ill
- are a wounded warrior
- may qualify for immediate payments due to certain specified disabilities
- may qualify for compassionate allowances
- may qualify for a quick disability determination
- need Medicaid or Medicare for health coverage.
If you already get Social Security, you should call if you need to ensure that you get your payment–for instance, you need to change your address, change your direct deposit information, or appoint a representative payee.
Their website, www.ssa.gov, is also still up and doing business. You can still use the website to apply for benefits, apply for a replacement card, and check the status of your case, among other things.
Some of the SSA activities which are on hold are continuing disability reviews (CDR’s); the processing and collection of most (not all) overpayments; and requesting accountings from rep payees. Most deadlines have also been extended or will be waived for “good cause” where possible. If you already have a hearing scheduled, you will be offered a telephone (not video) hearing in its place. You do not have to agree to a telephone hearing.