Remote Versus In-Person Services For SSDI Applicants
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Social Security Administration (SSA) field offices closed to the public, and many employees worked from home. For the early months of the pandemic, only remote or virtual contact with an SSA representative was possible if a person had questions about benefits through the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program or other SSA benefits. As the pandemic began to ease and vaccinations became possible, some in-person services began again at Social Security Administration field offices, yet those in-person services were limited. Indeed, according to an article from AARP, most in-person appointments at SSA field offices have been “limited to critical situations, such as for people who are without food, medicine, or shelter and need to apply for benefits or reinstate them.”
Yet the SSA is making plans to reopen its field offices more broadly in 2022, according to the AARP article. What does that information mean for seeking services remotely or in-person when it comes to SSDI benefits?
Social Security Administration Field Offices Are Set to Reopen
An SSA spokesperson recently indicated that the Social Security Administration has announced plans for a safe return to its field offices, which began on December 1, 2021 for members of the “seniors leadership.” Beginning January 3, 2022, the SSA plans to begin bringing back other workers to its field offices, “depending on negotiations with the union and the creation of rules for telework, social distancing, and other pandemic-related issues,” according to the AARP article.
The SSA currently has a variety of remote or virtual options for people seeking SSDI benefits (or with questions about SSDI benefits) and other Social Security benefits. For many people, having the options to communicate over the phone or through video conferencing has been a welcome change during the pandemic. Yet virtual or remote options do not always work for everyone. Indeed, as the article underscores, “people in rural areas and those without access to transportation or technology have struggled for help” with various kinds of Social Security benefits, including SSDI benefits.
Of course, there are also benefits of telework and remote operations. People filing claims have been able to get appointments much more quickly. Accordingly, many people applying for or receiving Social Security benefits may want to continue having the option for virtual contact.
Seeking Assistance from a Lawyer In-Person or Virtually
Beyond virtual or remote contact options for the Social Security Administration, many people seeking help with SSDI benefits want to know about their options for getting help from a disability benefits lawyer.
In most circumstances, lawyers are able to work with client needs by setting up phone or video conference meetings or scheduling in-person consultations and conversations. Our experienced national disability benefits lawyers can speak with you about your needs.
Contact Our National SSDI Benefits Attorneys
Do you have questions about applying for SSDI benefits, or do you need assistance with an appeal or aspects of your existing SSDI benefits? Our dedicated national Social Security disability lawyers can help you. Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Barszcz to learn more about the services we provide.