Up-to-date as of 12/15/2020
Is the Social Security Administration Open?
Yes, but there have been changes because of COVID-19.
- The Social Security Administration (SSA) closed its offices to the public as of March 17th, 2020. No walk-ins at SSA offices are allowed until further notice.
- The SSA is still open to take calls. If you are worried about your benefits or status, a hearing or a communication that you received, you can call 1 (800) 772-1213 or a field office. Find your local field office.
- The SSA has warned that it could take more than an hour to get through and reach an agent by phone because of staff shortages
- The SSA is recommending that you try the self-service options on their website before you try calling.
What about applications, requests, and other decisions the SSA usually makes?
- The SSA is suspending collection of new overpayments where possible, and will not send you a bill for an overpayment during this time. SSA will continue collecting any overpayment that has already been established.
- The SSA will continue with disability hearings by phone, but not in person. If you do not want to do your hearing by phone you can ask for the hearing to be postponed.
- Some SSA employees in local offices are continuing to work on requests for dire need benefit payments, disability applications for those with the most severe disabilities, changes of address, changes of direct deposit, changes of representative payee, and reports of death.
- If you get any communication, like a telephone call, e-mail or text threatening to suspend or discontinue benefits because SSA offices are closed, this is most likely a scam. See 'Look out for scams' below.
More information about how the pandemic is affecting SSA services.
What about hearings?
All in-person hearings before an Administrative Law Judge have been cancelled. If you have a hearing that is already scheduled, the SSA says it will contact you prior to your scheduled hearing to offer you a hearing-by-telephone. You can also call the SSA to schedule a hearing-by-telephone or to say that you decline a hearing-by-telephone.
The SSA is postponing hearings for anyone who declines a telephone hearing, but the wait time to schedule a new hearing could be long.
What about deadlines?
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the SSA is extending deadlines wherever possible.
- If the SSA asked you for documents by a certain date, you can mail the documents to the SSA or wait until the SSA office reopens.
- If you were asked to contact the SSA, you can wait until the SSA office re-opens to make contact.
The SSA is extending the time limits for submitting appeals and taking other actions during the pandemic.
Look out for scams during the pandemic
On March 17, 2020, the SSA issued a warning about fraudulent letters threatening suspension of Social Security benefits due to COVID-19-related office closures. SSA benefits will not be suspended or discontinued because the offices are closed.
On March 25, the US Department of Health and Human Services issued a warning that scammers are offering COVID-19 tests to Medicare beneficiaries in exchange for personal details, including Medicare information. This is a scam to collect your personal information.
Check here for more information about social security fraud and scams during COVID-19.
SSA will not call you to tell you your benefits are changing. You can not be arrested because of mistakes or changes to your benefits.