How can I make an appointment at the Social Security office?
You can currently only enter Social Security offices by appointment in “limited, critical situations” but after two years that may be about to change.
The Social Security Administration in March 2020 stopped face-to-face service with the public at the more than 1,200 field offices nationwide except in “limited, critical situations” due to the covid-19 pandemic. Until offices reopen, which may be finally happening after two years, beneficiaries can conduct business with the agency online, via fax or by phone including critical services.
The Social Security Administration considers the following situations as limited and critical: When a person lacks food or shelter, including utilities or in the event they do not have medical care or coverage and they are looking to reinstate or apply for benefits. Likewise, beneficiaries that cannot receive their benefits payment electronically and are in urgent need of one to cover food, shelter, or medical treatment expenses.
Scheduling an appointment with your local Social Security office
The agency is aiming to reopen offices for face-to-face services with the public at the end of March. Until then, the Social Security Administration provides a guide on conducting business during the pandemic with the agency.
Those that think they meet the requisites for an in-person appointment can contact their local office to arrange an appointment. The Social Security Administration advises that appointments will depend on staffing as well as the local health and safety conditions. However, if you do not qualify for an in-person appointment you can still contact the agency or use the expanded online services.
Contact the Social Security Administration toll-free by phone
The Social Security Administration provides toll-free National 800 number service to members of the public. Representatives are available between 8:00 am and 7:00 pm, Monday through Friday at 1-800-772-1213. The agency advises that wait times are typically shorter later in the day and Wednesdays through Fridays.
Spanish speakers can receive assistance by calling the same toll-free number and informing the pre-recorded system or representative that they would like to talk to a representative in Spanish.
For those who cannot make a call during these times, “recorded information and services are available 24 hours a day and on weekends.”
Deaf and hard of hearing
Those who are deaf or hard of hearing can call toll-free at 1-800-325-0778 to resolve any benefit issues or get their questions answered. The line is available from 8:00 am to 5:30 pm Monday through Friday.
Those who cannot call the National 800 number because they are located outside of the United States can use the following number, 410-965-0160. Callers should be aware that this is not a toll-free number, and they will have to assume any costs associated with the call. Representatives are available at this number on weekdays between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm Eastern US Time.
Online Social Security services
Throughout the pandemic, the SSA has expanded the number of services that can be completed online. Before many applicants needed to visit an Social Security office to apply for benefits, now “you can apply for retirement, disability, and Medicare benefits online.”
Additionally, the site allows beneficiaries to “check the status of your claim or appeal, request a replacement Social Security card in most states, get an instant proof of income letter, and much more.”
How to get access to a “my Social Security” account?
Setting up an online secure account is quick and easy, which you can do online or in person, once offices reopen if you are unable to get an in-person appointment now. For those who are 18 and older, all you need is a US mailing address, valid email address and a Social Security number.
If you don’t already have the app on your smartphone, you will want to download the app to your phone before you get started.