On Tuesday, March 17, all Social Security offices were closed to the public for in-person services. As the Social Security Administration (SSA) press release states, “This decision protects the population we serve older Americans and people with underlying medical conditions—and our employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we are still able to provide critical services.” Here’s what you need to know:
Benefits will continue to be paid. The vast majority of monthly benefits are paid via electronic transfers to individual bank accounts. These will go on as before, so your benefits are not in jeopardy, despite any fraudulent letters you may receive from scammers claiming that Social Security benefits will be suspended because of COVID-19.
Phone and online services available. Many things can be done online, such as applying for benefits, getting a benefit verification letter, or submitting an address change. Questions can be answered by calling the main phone line, but be prepared for long wait times. You may want to check their FAQs first.
Limited services in field offices. Most SSA employees are working remotely, but in certain dire circumstances, it may be possible to meet with a worker in a local office. See the online field office locator for information about how to directly contact a local office.
Calls from SSA workers. SSA workers sometimes make outgoing calls, such as to reschedule an appointment or follow up on an application. While they are working remotely, these calls may now come from a private cell phone rather than a government office. You may need to use your judgment to discern the legitimacy of the call. SSA will never make threats or ask for any form of payment.