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Social Security Offices Close During COVID-19 Outbreak. Now What?

Riddle Brantley LLP   |  March 19, 2020   |  

One of the federal government’s responses to the coronavirus pandemic has been to close all of its Social Security Administration (SSA) field offices to the public. Recent reports indicate that most SSA employees will be transitioning to remote or “telework” at this time.

However, if you are seeking disability benefits, you DO have options.

Here’s What You Need to Know About Seeking Disability During the Coronavirus Crisis

Social Security Offices Closed Due to Coronavirus - Riddle & BrantleyThe SSA offices that have closed are the “regular” Social Security offices where you would normally go to file a claim for disability benefits, or to start your retirement benefits, or for more mundane activities like getting a new or replacement Social Security card or changing the address of a beneficiary.

Closing Social Security Administration offices might sound like a drastic step, and in many ways it is, but most of the services offered by the SSA can be done online or by telephone.

The North Carolina disability lawyers at Riddle & Brantley can help you with these processes.

The SSA has not ceased operations — they are simply changing the way they do business during this crisis. Many of their “behind the scenes” employees were already working from home all or some of the time. And, the others who would normally see customers at those customer service windows in the SSA office are still at work processing claims received online or by telephone. The SSA is just not allowing anyone to physically come into the offices.

If you need assistance starting a claim for disability benefits (or appealing a denial), there is no need to let this pandemic stop you. 

We are able to help. 

Riddle & Brantley can assist you with filing a disability claim or appealing a denial while you are safely at home during the COVID-19 crisis.

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If you are already at the hearing level – you’ve appealed the denial of your claim and you’re waiting for your hearing date with an Administrative Law Judge – the situation is a little more complicated.

Disability Lawyer During the Coronavirus Outbreak - Riddle & BrantleyHere again, the hearing offices (where hearings normally take place) are closed to the public until further notice. But the “behind the scenes” employees at the hearing offices are continuing to process cases.

Many judges have postponed all of their upcoming hearings until further notice. But some judges are giving claimants the opportunity to have their hearings handled by telephone. These telephone hearings follow the same procedures as they would if everyone were present; they are just conducted over the phone.

Opinions vary on whether that is a good idea, but some claimants are so desperate for their benefits that they agree to proceed by telephone.

The Riddle & Brantley disability team is taking a “case by case” approach when the hearing-by-telephone option is offered to our clients. Sometimes we agree to proceed by phone, and sometimes our clients prefer to wait and appear personally before the judge.

Seeking disability benefits during the COVID-19 outbreak?

So, to recap: the Social Security Administration has not shut down, but is changing the way it does business while the country navigates the coronavirus pandemic.

We are here to help you in any way we can during this challenging time and have technology in place to help you without in-person visits.

Riddle & Brantley’s North Carolina disability lawyers are available for FREE consultations by phone, email or text — so you can remain safe at home. You can learn more about how we’re protecting our clients and staff from COVID-19 on our blog.

For a FREE, no-obligation consultation, please call 1-800-525-7111 or complete the short form below.

There are no upfront costs or attorney fees unless we win you the disability benefits you need and deserve.

Please call 1-800-525-7111 today and let’s review your case.

Our priority is protecting you and your loved ones’ safety, health and well-being. Justice Counts for North Carolinians with disabilities and we would love to help you if we can.