The Social Security Administration (SSA) has recently announced on its website that, as of April 7, 2022, it will be expanding its available in-person services at offices around the country. Specifically, it is increasing the availability of in-person staff who will be able to help people who walk into an SSA office without an appointment, to help them with applications for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. However, they still advise anyone who can to instead schedule an appointment, or to handle as much of the process as possible online or over the phone.
Expanding In-Person Services
The SSA will, according to its announcement, begin increasing the staffing at its offices around the country to help people who require in-person services. This will include staff to help people who do not have an appointment, and require immediate assistance. The downside to this is that people who walk in without an appointment may need to wait in line, and may experience delays depending on the availability of staff.
Why Services Were Limited Until Now
For the past two years, in-person services at SSA offices have been severely limited due to restrictions imposed at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. To prevent the risk of infection, particularly among elderly and disabled people who are at higher risk of severe illness or death from COVID infection, most SSA services were moved to internet and phone services. While this was potentially quite convenient for many, and also safer, it gave few options for people who may have required more direct assistance in filling out their applications.
The Impact on Potential Applicants
With the expansion of in-person services, people who need help with their applications for SSDI or SSI benefits can go to an SSA office and request help from someone working there. They do not need to worry about problems from going on the phone, or about errors that might arise due to an online application. They can also directly ask people for help with things they do not understand, or which are unclear to them.
What You Should Do
That being said, COVID-19 has not gone away, and the SSA is still in the process of staffing its offices. This means that anyone who can should still try to apply online or over the phone if they are able. However, for anyone who does need to apply in-person, that option is now available, potentially making it easier for some people to obtain disability benefits.
If you or a loved one need assistance applying for SSDI or SSI benefits, it is important that you seek the guidance of an experienced Social Security Disability benefits lawyer. The lawyers at Sullivan & Kehoe, LLP have over 50 years of combined experience between its attorneys and are available to you or your loved one in obtaining Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits. To schedule a consultation with our New York Social Security Disability benefits lawyers, call (631) 823-7155.