The Social Security Administration (SSA) announced last night that effective today, all field and hearing offices are closed to the public due to the ongoing public health crisis related to the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. If you are already awarded benefits, this will not affect your ongoing payments. If you have a hearing scheduled, however, you can expect a call soon to request that you either agree to moving forward via telephonic hearing or to continue the matter to a later date. While SSA will remain open to conducting business online and on a limited basis via telephone, it is not yet clear at what capacity they will be processing information.
Thus, if you are awaiting a decision to your application, reconsideration, hearing, or appeal, you can likely expect delays although it is not yet clear for how long. Hearings will continue to get scheduled, but we expect them to be delayed for even longer than usual. SSA has also announced that rescheduling any hearings that had to be continued will get preference to newly scheduled hearings. It is not yet clear whether SSA will be suspending any deadlines for filing appeals. If your claim is in Federal court, you should defer to your local district or circuit regarding their current COVID-19 responses.