After a more than two-year wait, people seeking services from the Social Security Administration (SSA) may finally set foot inside the federal agency’s field offices, which reopened nationwide on April 7. Since mid-March 2020, SSA field offices have been closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the past two years, the agency provided its services – including Social Security disability (SSD) benefits — online or by phone. In-person appointments, however, were available in a limited capacity.
The comfort of in-person advice
Once again, disabled workers who seek advice on applying for benefits may benefit from in-person advice. They may have an increased comfort level when receiving explanations on whether their ailment qualifies them for SSD benefits, the documents and information they must submit as well as how to file for an appeal if the SSA denies their application.
Health protocols remain in place since many people who seek services from the SSA have medical ailments. Anyone who enters an office must wear a mask and maintain their social distance. Masks will be available at each office.
Another important development: expect long lines. According to the SSA, its offices provided services to more than 43 million people in 2019. It is best not to go to SSA field offices during peak times. Typically, the busiest times at SSA offices are early morning, early in the week as well as early in the month. Services will still be available online and by telephone.
Sense of relief, but more work ahead
Now that SSA offices have reopened, your frustrations may dissipate a little after not being able to meet with an agency representative to discuss your case. Even with that new sense of relief, understand that you as a disabled worker still have a lot of work to do in supplying the right documents in seeking the benefits that will help you and your family.