Tuesday March 17th, 2020
Dear clients, colleagues, and friends –
By now, you may have heard that the Social Security Administration has closed all of their offices to the public, and asked much of their staff to work from home as much as possible. They have taken this major step to protect both the people who work for the SSA and the many customers all across the nation they interact with, many of whom are elderly and/or have existing medical conditions. COVID-19 is dangerous, and the SSA is taking appropriate steps to minimize exposure to people who could be severely affected by it.
You’re probably wondering what this means for you and for your claim for Social Security Disability Insurance and/or Supplemental Security Income benefits.
There is no indication that SSDI and SSI applications are not being worked on by staff at the Social Security Administration. We fully expect and believe that work will continue as normal, with the exception of any in-person appointments. There may be some delay in processing applications, but we have no reason to believe that this critical function of the SSA has been curtailed or closed down. Should this change, we will notify you as soon as possible. While this change to working-from-home for many of the SSA’s employees may slow the process, it is not stopping.
Hearings and prior-scheduled appointments will not be handled in-person at this time, but they are not canceled – they may be handled by phone.
The Office of Hearing Operations, the part of the Social Security Administration that handles hearings for SSDI and SSI claims, has not shut down at this time. They have said, however, that any Hearings and prior-scheduled appointments will not be handled in-person at this time, but they are not canceled – most likely, they will be held via phone. People who have scheduled appointments may receive a call from the Social Security Administration to arrange to have their hearing handled on a phone-based conference. The call you receive, they say, may not come from a government phone number.
If you have a scheduled hearing date within the next 90 days, please contact us at email@example.com – please be sure to include the best phone number for us to use to contact you. We will need to speak to you soon.
What does this mean for normal, day-to-day SSA business and customer requests?
The SSA has announced that they will still be handling customer needs over the phone and online. On the phone, they will be prioritizing critical, urgent matters – such as dire need petitions, benefit payment discrepancies, changes to address and direct deposit details, and the like. Many non-urgent day-to-day type requests will be directed to the SSA online-service web portal (https://www.ssa.gov/onlineservices).
The SSA warns that if you call their national 1-800 number you should be patient. There may be longer than usual waiting times to have your call answered and your needs addressed.
We will keep you informed of any and all changes that are important to your case.
In this difficult and trying time, we are still here for you. As we have said in previous communications, Citizens Disability is fortunate that many of our hard-working staff members can work from home, and we will do everything in our power to stay open and keep working for our clients.
If you have questions or need assistance, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and our Claimant Services team will get in touch with you as soon as is possible in the circumstances.
Thank you, friends. We appreciate your patience and understanding. We wish you all the best. Stay safe out there!
Please take a moment to look at the following materials about the Coronavirus, and how to stay safe, from the Centers for Disease Control:
Chief Executive Officer