The COVID-19 virus has halted normal business operations all over the nation -- and the operations at the Social Security Administration (SSA) is no exception.
If you have a Social Security Disability claim in the works, here's what you need to know about SSA's response to the pandemic and how various other concerns may affect your situation:
1. Social Security has suspended in-office visits and many post-claim processes
As of March 17, 2020, SSA suspended all face-to-face services. They're also putting a halt to many post-adjudication processes, including disability reviews.
You can still contact the agency by phone or use their online services.
2. Certain disability claims are being prioritized over others
Right now, SSA representatives are focusing on disability applications involving:
- Terminal illness
- Wounded warriors
- Expedited claims under Supplemental Security Income rules
- Compassionate allowance claims
- Quick disability determination processes
They are still processing other pending disability claims, but it is reasonable to assume that the process may be slowed down due to worker shortages and office shutdowns.
3. Deadlines are being extended on many claims
Because of the public health crisis, SSA is "providing maximum flexibility" if an appeal is submitted past the deadline -- as long as you have good cause. This also extends time limits for returning SSA's calls or responding to requests for information.
4. It may take longer to get your medical records to SSA
Because medical facilities are overwhelmed right now, it may take additional time to get your medical records from your doctors' offices and hospitals.
As difficult as this time is, patience is encouraged. If you're working with a representative to get your Social Security Disability claim approved, your attorney can continue to work on your behalf.