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COVID-19 FAQ – Social Security (SSA)

Disability Advocacy Team April 04, 2020

COVID-19 FAQ – SOCIAL SECURITY (SSA)

 

Last updated: April 29, 2020

 

Social Security Administration (SSA) Offices are Closed But You Can Still Get Help

SSA’s offices are closed to the public but the agency is still providing some services by phone.

Plans are still changing and the information listed here may change in the future. For the most up-to-date information, see SSA’s website at ssa.gov/coronavirus.

 

Can I get a Coronavirus Stimulus Payment?

If you received Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability (SSD) or Social Security retirement benefits last year, IRS will issue payment of $1200 automatically to the bank account it has on file for you.  It is not necessary to file a tax return.  If you began receiving disability or retirement benefits for the first time this year and you did not file taxes in 2018 or 2019, you will have to request the stimulus payment at this IRS portal for non-filers: www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments

If you receive SSI or Social Security disability or retirement and you also have a child under 17 years old, you may qualify for an additional payment of $500 per child.  These payments are not automatic.

NEW DEADLINES – PLEASE NOTE – If you receive SSI benefits and did not claim your child as a dependent on a return in the last 2 years, you must request the $500 payment through the IRS portal by Tuesday, May 5. The deadline for recipients of Social Security disability (SSDI) or retirement recipients was Wednesday, April 22. has not been announced but if you receive SSI you should request payment for your child immediately.

If you receive benefits in a bank account, the IRS will send the payment to the same account.  If you do not have a bank account, you will receive a paper check.

If you receive a stimulus payment while on SSI, it will not be counted against the SSI resource limit for 12 months from when you receive the stimulus payment. Be aware that the stimulus payment may be reduced for unpaid child support debt.

 

Is SSA paying benefits during this time?

Benefit payments will be made as scheduled.

 

What if I have a deadline, appointment, or hearing during this time?

SSA is extending its deadlines wherever possible.

 

How do I reach my local Social Security office?

Local offices continue to provide some services over the phone. Staff will be available to help with some critical services and situations involving dire need. You can find the direct phone number here by searching for your local office by zip code. Under the listing for the specific office, click on the plus sign to “Show Additional Office Information” to see the telephone number.

There are not enough SSA employees currently available to handle the call volume to the national 1-800-772-1213 number, so callers will likely experience extremely significant delays or inability to access the line.

Online services also remain available. Go to ssa.gov/coronavirus.

 

What if I need help with an overpayment?

Where possible, SSA is suspending the collection of new overpayments. SSA will continue established collection activity for existing overpayments.

 

What if I have a hearing scheduled?

Because SSA offices are closed to the public, you cannot attend your hearing in person at this time. If you have a hearing scheduled, you or your representative will be contacted by telephone and offered a telephone hearing instead. In most cases, a telephone hearing will be held on the same day and time as originally scheduled.

The call may come from a PRIVATE number and not from a U.S. Government phone. SSA employees will not threaten you or ask for any form of payment.

If you do not want your hearing to be held by telephone, you may request a postponement. SSA is unable to estimate how long it will be before a new hearing date is set.

 

How do I apply for benefits?

SSA is continuing to process new applications. You may file a new application for benefits online. In addition, staff in local offices may be available by phone to assist with new applications for cases involving the most severe disabilities.

 

What if I was scheduled to see an agency doctor at IMA?

IMA, the company that holds consultative examinations for SSA, is not conducting disability examinations at this time. If you have an appointment for an examination with IMA, it will be cancelled.  Applications may be decided without these examinations.

 

What if I am scheduled for a continuing disability review?

SSA is not starting or completing any medical continuing disability reviews (CDRs).

 

How do I know if my benefits will be cut off?

SSA is not taking any new, manual actions to reduce, suspend, or delay any benefits during this period, although some automated actions may continue.

If you receive a communication threatening to stop your benefits because SSA offices are closed, this is most likely a scam, and should be reported to the Inspector General. Do not give out any personal information over the phone unless you are sure the caller is really from SSA.

 

Please note: Do not send us any nonpublic information about any legal matter for which you seek legal representation until we request that you do so. Empire Justice attorneys will inform you if and when your matter is considered for legal representation. Until that time, any information you provide WILL NOT be considered confidential, and NO attorney-client relationship is formed by communications received through this website. Any information available on the website is for general legal education purposes only, and is not legal advice.