Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Clients, Friends, and Colleagues –
In the last two days, we have been able to help many of our clients who had hearings scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday actually have those hearings.
This is a big deal.
At 7:00 PM Eastern Time on Monday night, the Social Security Administration announced without warning that they were closing their offices to the public and that hearings scheduled for the next morning would either happen via telephone or would have to be postponed.
What happened next? Our advocates immediately dropped their dinners and got on the phone, calling clients to let them know the news, and that we were here to support them. Our team explained the situation, made plans with clients, arranged scheduling and strategy for the hearings.
Working late into the night, the Citizens Disability team adapted to an unprecedented situation – something not a lot of other advocacy groups could, or would, do.
On Tuesday morning, bright and early, Advocates were on the phone, clients were on the phone, Judges were on the phone. The hearings were happening.
I want to thank not just Citizens Disability staffers and advocates for this effort, but also, our clients!
Coronavirus has caused tremendous changes (in just a few days) to systems and procedures that have remained largely the same for decades. So many people who have requested a hearing for their SSDI/SSI application have waited for months or years to have those hearings. A postponement or cancellation could have huge repercussions, financially, physically, and emotionally.
Getting these hearings done for our clients is huge for them and we are pleased that when so much is uncertain, we can deliver.
Being able to adapt to a “new normal” that appears suddenly, with no warning, is no easy task for anyone. The Social Security Administration closing their offices to the public, even if it was a smart decision, has created great difficulty for a lot of people – the SSA’s own employees, customers, and Disability Advocates like us here at Citizens Disability.
Through all of this, our clients have stayed calm and showed tremendous resiliency and were able to adapt to this very difficult situation and join their hearings over the phone and do what they needed to do for their claims. We’re proud to serve you and have you as our clients!
This is a big deal because we’re all in this together. The things we (all of us) can do to help our fellow Americans will be what is remembered.
The fact that we can continue to deliver for our clients, and our clients can have their hearings to make their case, especially in the face of change, uncertainty, and adversity, makes us feel really good. We’re all in this business because we believe disabled workers should be able to access their benefits. Everyone who does this kind of work does it because they want to help people. Coronavirus is making it harder on everyone, for sure – but we’re all still pulling together to make it happen. That said, we hope for a return to normalcy soon!
You can count on us to do what it takes to keep delivering.
We do have to follow the law of the land and adhere to Coronavirus response measures issued by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (where we have our headquarters) as well as the federal government. But as long as we’re allowed to keep operating, we’re going to. As long as we’re allowed to keep our doors open, we will keep delivering. As long as our employees can keep doing the work, we will.
As I said above, we’re all in this together. The American people will need to pull together and work together (even if we’re separated by “social distancing”) to get through this situation. As long as we keep a cool head and keep our neighbors health and safety in mind, we will prevail.
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