The COVID 19 pandemic led to many businesses and offices closing down to help stop the spread of the virus. One of the affected services was the Social Security Administration. On March 17, 2020, about 1,200 field offices that served nearly 43 million people were closed. The administration transitioned to offering most if not all of its services online. These services include
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
- Retirement Benefit
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and
- Medicare claims
Therefore, at this time, if you need to open a social security account, update your data, or keep track of your earnings, you can do it from the comfort of your home. However, some cases require in-person visits since not everyone has access to the technology or knows how to use online services. That’s why it’s essential to keep track of the working hours of your local social security office.
So, are social security offices open today? This article will help you answer this question and expound more on in-person visits.
Is My Local Social Security Office Open?
How do you check if your local social security office is open? Well, for starters, although the administration does not allow walk-in visits, some circumstances necessitate physical services, as you’ll see later in this article. Therefore, social security offices are still open, but they only allow in-person transactions if you have an appointment.
Ideally, the offices operate from Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. They don’t work on weekends, nor do they on federal holidays. If the holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, social security offices will celebrate it the day before (Friday) or after (Monday), respectively. Here are the holidays when you should expect your local offices as well as their online services to be closed in 2022:
- Monday, January 17 – Martin Luther King Jr.
- Monday, February 15 – Presidents’ Day
- Monday, February 21 – Washington’s Birthday:
- Monday, May 30 – Memorial Day:
- Monday, June 20 – Juneteenth National Independence Day. This holiday will be celebrated on June 19 because it’s supposed to always be on a Sunday.
- Monday, July 4- Independence Day
- Monday, September 5 – Labor Day:
- Monday, October 10 – Columbus Day:
- Friday, November 11 – Veterans Day
- Thursday, November 24 – Thanksgiving
- Friday, December 24 – Christmas Day. Christmas this year will be observed on the 24th since 25th will be on a Sunday.
- Friday, December 31 – New Year’s Day since January 1, 2023, falls on a Saturday.
How To Use Online Social Security Services
The online services are accessible with the use of the internet through mobile devices or computers. Since most of the people who use these services are middle-aged, they tend to use phone calls. To contact a social security representative, you can dial the Social Security Administration (SSA) national number 800-772-1213, or you can choose to contact your local offices. Your local social security office contact details are on the SSA office locator. You have to search for your area zip code in the locator to get them.
You’ll most likely be placed on a waiting call. Experts recommend calling on Wednesdays for the national number since the wait time is usually shorter. Nonetheless, the national number is available on weekdays between 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., while the local number works on weekdays between 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. It’s important to note that phone call services aren’t available on federal holidays. Even so, there’s a list of automated services on the Social Security Website that you can access on holidays. Speaking of websites, here’s another way to access online services.
Using My Social Security Account
You can open a ‘my social security account’ on the SSA website. This account allows you to do the following:
- Apply for retirement, disability, and succession benefits as well as Medicare
- Check your earnings history and your estimated future-benefits
- Create a direct deposit for your benefits payments or change details on an existing deposit
- Check the status of a pending application for benefits
- Inform the administration about a change of details such as email and phone number
- Access your benefit verification letter
- Request a replacement for your Medicare card or social security
What If I Want An In-Person Visit?
Even with all these online services and the increased ease of using them, some situations call for physical visits to your local social security office. The administration has exemptions in allowing walk-ins. Keep in mind that in-person visits are arranged through appointments, and they may therefore not be suitable if your case is urgent. Only consider scheduling an in-person appointment if:
- You don’t have basic needs like food and shelter, or you can’t avail your Medicare and cover your utilities. In this case, you may have to make use of your benefits or reinstate them.
- You’re already receiving the benefits, and you have an urgent need for money to cover your utility, health, and basic needs bills but the benefit payment isn’t accessible electronically.
Besides, there may be hopes of offices reopening for those who insist on walk-in services. On December 22, the administration released a statement that although they had proposed all the 1200 offices to resume normalcy on January 3, some offices started operating on January 1, 2022. SSA is still setting proposed re-entry dates for the rest of the administration. Hopefully, by the end of the year, you’ll be able to walk in and out of the social security offices when the need arises.
The push for the resumption of in-person services was due to concerns that the larger population doesn’t have access to online technology, nor do they know how to use it. This is especially true since the larger population of people who need the services are either old, disabled, or children.
The old may not know how to navigate the SSA website, unlike the tech-savvy teenagers. Disabled people, on the other hand, may have mental or physical incapacity that makes them unable to access the service or use the technology. There are also poor and homeless people who don’t have access to a telephone, smart gadget, or the internet.
Even with an increasing hope of the field office reopening, you still have to be aware of impending challenges. One of them is the highly contagious Omicron virus. This may mean that the Social Security Administration may delay its reopening plans as they prepare better for the other surgent variants of the virus.
Therefore, please take your time to learn how to use the online service in the meantime. You can start by reading news about online social security services, like this article.
To Sum It Up
The social security offices are open only during weekdays from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., but they aren’t available during the federal holidays. However, today, you may have to use the online services due to the walk-in restrictions that were put in place to help control the spread of the coronavirus. With that said, in case your condition is critical, such as lack of food, shelter, and health care, you can book an appointment today to reserve an in-person visit to your local social security office.