The Social Security Administration (SSA) is allowing limited, appointment-only visits to its field offices nationwide, but the sites remain closed to walk-in customers.
The SSA closed its offices for all in-person service on March 17, saying at the time that the move “protects the population we serve — older Americans and people with underlying medical conditions — and our employees during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.”
As outlined in an Oct. 22 update to the SSA's online COVID-19 page, members of the public can now seek to schedule office visits for “dire-need situations” that cannot be resolved online or by phone.
The agency has not announced a date for when field offices might reopen for full service. It says it will work with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local governments to make that determination.
You can always conduct routine business, such as checking on your benefits or ordering a replacement Social Security card, by setting up and using your personal My Social Security account online. You can use this account to arrange for direct deposit of your benefits, to change your address or phone number or to get other kinds of help.
Appointments for ‘dire need'
The SSA says dire need exists if:
- You are without food or shelter, utilities, or medical care or coverage and need to apply for or reinstate benefits.
- You receive benefits and have an urgent need for payment to meet expenses for food, shelter or medical treatment, and you cannot receive the payment electronically.
In these situations you can call your local office to inquire whether you qualify for an in-person visit. The SSA cautions that “appointments may not be immediately available, depending on local health and safety conditions and staffing."
You may also be able to schedule a visit to resolve issues with your Social Security number. The SSA is prioritizing such requests for:
- People age 12 and up who are applying for their first Social Security card.
- People who need to update or correct data attached to their number, such as name, date of birth or citizenship status, in order to obtain income, resources, medical care or coverage or other services or benefits (for example, filing a tax return, applying for housing or seeking a COVID-19 stimulus payment).