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COVID-19 FAQ – Social Security (SSA)

Disability Advocacy Team April 04, 2020

COVID-19 FAQ – SOCIAL SECURITY (SSA)

 

Last updated: November 2, 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.

 

Should I have gotten a Coronavirus Stimulus Payment?

If you received Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability (SSD) or Social Security retirement benefits last year, IRS should have issued payment of $1200 automatically to the bank account it has on file for you.  It was 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 had to request the stimulus payment at this IRS portal for non-filers: www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments

If you did not receive your payment, you can still request it through the IRS portal above, but you have to act quickly.  The IRS just extended the deadline to November 21, 2020. https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USIRS/bulletins/2a45431?reqfrom=share. Even if you do not receive SSI or SSD benefits or file taxes, you can still request your stimulus payment of $1,200 for adults and $500 for your dependent children through November 21st .  If you receive SSI or Social Security disability or retirement benefits and have a dependent child under 17-year-old, the deadline to receive an additional payment of $500 per dependent child was also just extended to November 21.

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 or a pre-paid card.

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 missed 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 suspended the collection of new overpayments, but as of August, began collections again. SSA continued established collection activity for existing overpayments. You can contact your local Social Security office to request a waiver.

 

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. Starting soon, SSA will also offer video hearings.

If you agreed to a telephone hearing, be aware that 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 or video, 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 am scheduled to see an agency doctor at IMA?

IMA, the company that holds consultative examinations for SSA, is conducting disability examinations. If you have an appointment for an examination with IMA, you should either attend or call to cancel if you feel uncomfortable attending.  Applications may be decided without these examinations.

 

What if I am scheduled for a continuing disability review?

SSA resumed  starting or completing any medical continuing disability reviews (CDRs) in May, but will not implement any decisions that would cause benefits to stop.

 

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.

For more information, visit: https://www.ssa.gov/coronavirus/

 

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