COVID-19 Disability and Public Benefits Resources
Important tips to know about Social Security Disability in the time of Covid-19:
- In-person hearings are being postponed and claimants have a right to ask for an in-person hearing if a phone hearing is scheduled;
- Local offices are still physically closed and it’s very difficult to get through to Social Security at this time, but claimants should make sure they appeal timely;
- Claimants should make use of the online functions as much as they can;
- Claimants should continue to report information to Social Security.
The Social Security Administration is asking the public to try using online services first during the COVID-19 pandemic. Local Social Security offices are currently closed to the public. You should call the local Social Security office, not the national number, first. You can access the Field Officer Locator on the Social Security Administration website by going to https://www.ssa.gov/locator/. This tool allows you to search for your local Social Security office by zip code. The national 800 number, which is 800-772-1213, can also be used; however, is important to note that the wait times may be longer than usual to connect to an agent. In order to a get a waiver for an overpayment, you should call your local Social Security office.
If you are waiting for a hearing to be scheduled:
Ongoing medical documentation is necessary in order to support a claim for disability. We advise everyone to continue with medical care as much as possible by signing up for telemedicine and virtual visits.
Try to sign up for telemedicine by contacting your doctor’s office
- Can you do virtual appointments?
- Ask your doctor if they would be willing to complete an RFC? (this is a checkbox form your doctor can complete in support of your disability).
If you have a hearing scheduled:
Scheduled ALJ hearings are currently being held by phone. A claimant has a right to request that a phone hearing be continued. This is true even if you were already granted a continuance in the past. We advise claimants to request a continuance of a scheduled phone hearing with an ALJ. Claimants should ask that the hearing be continued to a time when they can have a video or in-person hearing. We understand this delay can be very frustrating, but are concerned that phone hearings are not the best way to present a case.
The Social Security Administration must send a Notice of Hearing to the claimant at least 75-days prior to the hearing date unless the claimant waives this right in writing. We advise you not to waive this right. The advanced notification of a hearing will give you time to seek legal representation, either with a private attorney or North Penn Legal Services. If you have a hearing rescheduled, you should feel free to contact our office for assistance. If we cannot represent you at the hearing, we will advise you of the options available to you.
Social Security Scams:
- Social Security will only call you for a phone appointment if you have already received correspondence from them in the mail notifying you of the phone call.
- If you have any questions about any documents you receive in the mail from Social Security contact us.
- Do NOT give any of your personal information to anyone on the phone who says they are with the Social Security Administration UNLESS you have first received correspondence in the mail from Social Security notifying you of the scheduled phone call.