The Social Security Administration announced that all local offices will be closed to the public for in-person services starting Tuesday in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“This decision protects the population we serve — older Americans and people with underlying medical conditions — and our employees during the coronavirus pandemic,” the agency said in a statement released Monday night. “However, we are still able to provide critical services.”
If you need help from Social Security, the agency recommended that you first check out online service options at www.socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices. You can apply for retirement, disability and Medicare benefits online.
You can also check the status of an application or appeal, request a replacement Social Security card and print a benefit verification letter from a laptop computer or mobile device.
If you already have an in-office appointment scheduled, SSA will call you to conduct your appointment over the phone instead. You cannot report a death or apply for survivors’ benefits online.
In most cases, the funeral home will report a person’s death to Social Security. If you want them to do that, you will need to give them the deceased’s Social Security number so they can make the report.
If you need to report a death or apply for survivors’ benefits, call 1-800-772-1213. You can speak to a Social Security representative between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
If you are getting benefits on your spouse’s or parent’s record, Social Security will automatically change any monthly benefits to survivors’ benefits after the death is reported. If you are getting retirement or disability benefits on your own record, you will need to apply for the survivor benefits. SSA will check to see whether you can get a higher benefit as a widow or widower. If you are not getting Social Security benefits, you should apply for survivor benefits promptly because, in some cases, benefits may not be retroactive.
If you cannot complete your Social Security business online, use the agency’s national 800 number (800-772-1213). It has many automated service options you can use without waiting to speak with a telephone representative. A list of automated telephone service is available at www.socialsecurity.gov/agency/contact/phone.html.
The SSA website also has a wealth of information online that will answer most Social Security questions without your having to speak to an SSA representative. You can visit the agency’s frequently asked questions page at www.socialsecurity.gov/ask.
If you can’t conduct your Social Security business online, check out the agency’s online field office locator for specific information about how to contact your local office directly. You will find the general inquiry telephone number for the office you select under “Show Additional Office Information.”
However, during the period in which in-public service is restricted, local offices will focus on specific critical workloads, including severe disability, blindness and terminal illness cases, and cases in which individuals are in dire need of low-income Supplemental Security Income benefits and Medicaid approval.