After SSA field offices were forced to close for nearly two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are plans to reopen offices for in-person consultations as soon as possible. The federal agency has reached an agreement with its labor unions to bring 45,000 SSA employees back to its field offices in April.
This follows intense pressure and frustration by lawmakers, taxpayers, and Social Security applicants and recipients alike who have faced significant hardship in the wake of SSA operations going almost entirely digital.
SSA Offices Closed and Shifted to Telework During Pandemic
Starting at the initial stage of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, the SSA closed all of its field offices and had staff work from home while redirecting those seeking assistance for Social Security-related matters to their online resources and a toll-free phone number. Some offices were open to the public, but only accepted a minimal amount of appointments for emergencies.
This nationwide shutdown left many disabled Americans without the benefits they needed, as reaching the SSA through the newly implemented contact methods was near impossible. This especially took a toll on those in rural areas or without access to transportation or technology. Some were even left without an income.
Essential Health and Safety Negotiations in Transition Back to In-Person
The SSA regularly checks in with its employee unions regarding a safe reentry to physical worksites with sufficient health and safety protocols. Depending on the outcome of these conversations, the SSA will determine how to best transition staffers from telework to in-person. Either way, the federal agency is ready to return to in-person consultations as soon as possible to ensure that everyone has access to the Social Security, SSD, SSI, Medicaid, and Medicare benefits they need.
We’re Here to Help
For more than 20 years, Disability Attorneys of Michigan has helped the disabled of Michigan obtain the Social Security Disability Benefits they deserve. If you are unable to work due to a physical, mental or cognitive impairment, call Disability Attorneys of Michigan now for a free consultation at 800-949-2900.