Businesses, retail and restaurant establishments, and other institutions are shuttering their doors in an attempt to arrest the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
Now, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has joined them. As of Tuesday, all local offices across the country are closed for in-person service until further notice.
The SSA notes that the decision is intended to protect the health of the people it typically serves — seniors and those with underlying medical conditions, two groups most at risk for potentially life-threatening complications associated with this coronavirus.
Fortunately, those who need help with their Social Security benefits still have options. In a recent announcement, the SSA suggests various ways you can access assistance, including the following.
1. Visit the official SSA site
At the official website, SSA.gov, you can do many tasks, including:
- Apply for retirement, disability and Medicare benefits.
- Check the status of an application or appeal.
- Request a replacement Social Security card (in most areas).
- Print a benefit verification letter.
You can learn more about such services on the “Online Services” webpage.
2. Check out the FAQ page
The SSA notes that you can find answers to many questions through its FAQ page. Some questions you will find there include:
- How do I change or correct my name on my Social Security number card?
- How do I apply for a new or replacement Social Security number card?
- How can I get a Social Security Statement that shows a record of my earnings and an estimate of my future benefits?
- How can I change my address?
3. Call your local office
Yes, it’s true that you cannot visit your local office now. But you can still call to get questions answered, or to receive help applying for benefits. Go to the SSA website and use the field office locator to reach a location near you.
4. Wait for a local office to contact you
The SSA says that if you previously scheduled an in-office appointment, a staffer will call you and handle the appointment over the phone. It adds this important detail:
“Our call may come from a PRIVATE number and not from a U.S. Government phone. Please remember that our employees will not threaten you or ask for any form of payment.”
5. Call the national office
Finally, you can reach out to the national SSA office at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).
The SSA notes that calling this number can patch you in to “automated service options you can use without waiting to speak with a telephone representative.”
You can find a list of such automated services at the SSA website.
Stay tuned to Money Talks News
Stay up to date on the coronavirus — and how to stay safe from it — by reading stories on our webpage devoted to the topic.
Additionally, we intend to continue publishing our “Social Security Q&A” series three times each month, so you can check that webpage periodically for the latest expert advice.
You can also find Money Talks News’ latest Social Security coverage on our Social Security webpage.