Could COVID-19 Affect Your Social Security Check?

If you're like many Social Security recipients, you may have stayed largely close to home over the last few weeks as the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis spreads. The uncertainty surrounding current events has led many to wonder whether they'll continue to receive their Social Security retirement or disability payments while this crisis continues. Fortunately, payments should be made through direct deposit as usual—but everything from the review of new disability claims to the availability of in-person appointments at local Social Security offices has been changed. Learn more about how COVID-19 could affect the availability of various Social Security-related services. 

What Social Security Services Are Being Suspended During the Crisis?

As of March 18, 2020, Social Security offices around the country are no longer accepting walk-in visitors. Instead, they are exclusively providing services online and via telephone and mail. Additionally, the Social Security Administration has suspended certain workloads to help accommodate its employees who are working remotely and to allow employees to concentrate their efforts on the most critical cases. 

Just a few of the workloads that have been suspended until further notice include the following: 

  • Freedom of Information Act requests
  • Continuing disability reviews
  • Overpayment processing and collection
  • Accountings of organizations or individual representative payees
  • Processing or responding to third-party requests for information (with some exceptions)

By putting these services and tasks on hold, Social Security Administration employees are able to focus less on collecting overpayments and responding to requests for information and more on helping those who are hardest hit by this crisis. 

What Services Are Still Available?

Online services allow Social Security and Medicare recipients to apply for retirement, disability, and Medicare benefits; check an application's status; request a replacement Social Security or Medicare card; or access a benefits letter, change an address, or make changes to a direct deposit. Additionally, agents are available by telephone to help people who never received a monthly payment, who are at risk of becoming homeless, or whose benefits were suspended and are now eligible for reinstatement. New applicants who fall into certain categories (like the severely disabled or disabled members of the armed forces) can also telephone the Social Security Administration for further guidance. 

In addition, during the COVID-19 crisis, the Social Security Administration is extending many of its documentation and appeal deadlines, preventing applicants from being penalized for belatedly responding. This grace period should be beneficial for applicants who, whether for COVID-19-related reasons or otherwise, are unable to comply with deadlines in time. 

For more information, contact a social security attorney near you.

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