The coronavirus pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of Michigander’s daily lives. Many of us are being asked to stay home and businesses forced to close their doors. We are worried about how the pandemic will negatively impact Michigan’s economy. More importantly, we are worried about our loved ones who may get sick. Social Security disability recipients, many of who rely on payments to make ends meet, may be facing another concern, though: how COVID-19 could affect their monthly benefit.
SSA has closed its field offices to the public to help slow the spread of the virus. That means if you have a question or need help with your benefits, you’ll either need to call or go online to find answers. The SSA is urging the public to try to find help online first, because that will allow Social Security to focus more on individuals in dire need via phone.
The SSA will also be extending deadlines due to the coronavirus pandemic. If you are required to provide certain documentation, you can either do so by mail or wait until the SSA offices reopen. In addition, certain functions will be postponed until further notice, including medical continuing disability reviews and the collection of overpayments.
With all of these changes happening, scammers have taken advantage of the situation.There have been reports recently of people receiving fraudulent letters saying their benefits are going to be suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Social Security Office of the Inspector General. The letters provide a phone number beneficiaries should call to get their benefits reinstated, and then scammers mislead callers into providing personal information. Some fraudsters will also ask their victims to send cash in order to continue receiving their monthly checks. Again, SSA is not suspending or withholding benefits because of COVID-19. So if you receive a letter saying you’re about to lose your benefits, do not respond, but do report it online.
To avoid getting scammed, make sure you know what to expect when corresponding with SSA. They will never ask for payment in the form of cash, gift cards, wire transfers, or prepaid debit cards. Additionally, you’ll never be threatened with arrest or legal action for not paying a fee or a fine, and SSA will not ask for personal information via letter or email. If you ever receive a phone call, letter, or email that seems suspicious, hang up, or don’t respond. You can never be too careful, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.
The coronavirus pandemic is causing a lot of uncertainty among Michiganders right now, and it’s changing the way millions of people live. While your monthly Social Security checks won’t be affected by COVID-19, it is important to stay up to date on the changes occurring within SSA. By understanding how to contact the SSA if you have questions and keeping an eye out for scammers, you can rest easy knowing your benefits are safe. Also, make sure to follow us on Facebook at The Law Center for Social Security Rights for up to date information.