During states of emergency that are being declared across the country, many offices are closing. These offices include Social Security Administration (SSA) offices. These closures are for the safety of the general public as well as the employees of the SSA. If you have a disability, you may want to get your disability claim filed and/or have SSA forms or medical evidence to submit. As a side note, you should know that you cannot receive disability benefits because you have been diagnosed with the coronavirus.
If SSA offices are closed, it affects all of us who have to deal with SSA. While you may be affected because you cannot visit the local office in person and sit down with a representative, you can still get help and your claim can still proceed. You can still get your claim underway for disability benefits. To do so, you can visit the SSA website, which is at www.ssa.gov, and start the claims process by completing the application or by calling the office to set up an SSI interview. You will need to complete a form that includes a detailed list of all medical providers, their contact details, and the dates of service. If you have applied and receive a denial notice, you can appeal the decision online. If you have a hearing scheduled, SSA is allowing the hearing to proceed via the telephone.
If you have a telephone appointment scheduled with SSA, those calls will continue as scheduled and your phone appointment will take place. If you had a physical in office appointment scheduled, you will need to call SSA at 1-800-772-1213 and speak with a representative to either reschedule your appointment for later when the office reopens or to have it switched to a phone interview.
Social Security, however, has cancelled all disability medical exams. If you have a pending exam, you should receive a letter indicating the cancellation. No medical exams will be rescheduled until further notice.
If you on the other hand you are on disability benefits and your case is being reviewed, SSA has temporarily stopped processing continuing review claims. Once again, this type of case is for people who are on benefits and are being review to see whether their disability continues.
Also note that there could be some delays in your case as some doctor’s office are closed so obtaining medical records may be difficult. Be aware that your disability examiner may call you from a temporary phone number that does not appear to be Social Security. If you do not feel comfortable answering a number that you do not recognize, you can still call your examiner and leave a message as they will be checking their office voicemails on a regular basis.
You might want to consider hiring a disability lawyer to help you navigate the disability application process during this difficult time. Do not hesitate to contact us at www.ssrights.com, Facebook at The Law Center or our office at 248-350-1000.