The Social Security Administration announced that all of its local Social offices will be closed to the public for in-person service effective March 17, 2020.
The agency said the decision protects the population they serve — older Americans and people with underlying medical conditions — and their employees during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It will, however, still provide critical services during this time.
“Our secure and convenient online services remain available at www.socialsecurity.gov,” the agency said. “Local offices will also continue to provide critical services over the phone. We are working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and local governments, and other experts to monitor COVID-19 and will let you know as soon as we can resume in-person service.”
Social Security Benefit Payments Will Continue As Normal
“I want you to hear directly from me how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting our services. The first thing you should know is that we continue to pay benefits,” said Andrew Saul, Commissioner of Social Security on March 18. “To protect you and help stop the spread of this coronavirus, we cannot accept visitors in our offices at this time.”
Beware of Scams
Saul also warned beneficiaries of potential scams. “Be aware that scammers may try to trick you into thinking the pandemic is stopping your Social Security payments but that is not true,” Saul said. “Don’t be fooled.”
Online and Phone Services Available
The agency provided direction on how to access help from Social Security below:
First, please use our secure and convenient online services available at www.socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices. You can apply for retirement, disability, and Medicare benefits online, check the status of an application or appeal, request a replacement Social Security card (in most areas), print a benefit verification letter, and much more – from anywhere and from any of your devices. We also have a wealth of information to answer most of your Social Security questions online, without having to speak with a Social Security representative in person or by phone. Please visit our online Frequently Asked Questions at www.socialsecurity.gov/ask.
If you cannot conduct your Social Security business online, please check our online field office locator for specific information about how to directly contact your local office. Your local office still will be able to provide critical services to help you apply for benefits, answer your questions, and provide other services over the phone.
If you already have an in-office appointment scheduled, we will call you to handle your appointment over the phone instead. If you have a hearing scheduled, we will call you to discuss alternatives for continuing with your hearing, including offering a telephonic hearing. Our call may come from a PRIVATE number and not from a U.S. Government phone. Please remember that our employees will not threaten you or ask for any form of payment.
If you cannot complete your Social Security business online, please call our National 800 Number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). Our National 800 Number has many automated service options you can use without waiting to speak with a telephone representative. A list of automated telephone services is available online at www.socialsecurity.gov/agency/contact/phone.html.
“Please visit our COVID-19 web page at www.socialsecurity.gov/coronavirus/ to find out what services we are continuing and which ones we are suspending, how to contact us, and important information about deadlines we are extending to ease the burden on you and medical providers during this pandemic,” Saul said.