WHAT IF I HAVE A PENDING CASE WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES, OR NEED ASSISTANCE WITH SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS?
DSS offices (which handle Medicaid, SNAP/food stamps, cash assistance, and other forms of public assistance) have moved to telephone-only consultations in many counties. DSS has suspended the requirements for in-person interviews. If you have a new application or a recertification application, you can mail it to your local DSS office. Please include a working phone number where you can be contacted. Many DSS offices also have a physical drop-off location at the office where you can leave application materials. If your benefits are due for recertification in March, April, or May of 2020, the recertification deadline has been extended automatically for 3 months. Many DSS offices are working with limited staff, and due to an overwhelming number of new applications the time it takes to process these applications may be delayed. Benefits will be granted retroactively to the date on which the application was received at DSS.
If you have an emergency situation, please call your local DSS office to get assistance as soon as possible. Emergency cases may require in-person interaction, as DSS offices are required to have some staff physically present to handle emergency orders.
Social security offices are conducting business via telephone and internet only at this time. SSA has also temporarily suspended the collection of overpayments, accountings for representative payees, and continuing disability reviews “wherever possible.” Many SSA functions can be completed online at www.ssa.gov.
If you cannot complete your desired SSA function online, please call 1-800-772-1213 for assistance. Social Security is prioritizing certain types of cases during the COVID-19 outbreak. SSA will accept requests for “dire need” payments from individuals who are supposed to receive payments but do not receive them, from those who are homeless or about to become homeless, or from those whose benefits were suspended and can now be reinstated. SSA is accepting new applications for benefits, but is giving first priority to the following:
- Disability applications for the terminally ill, wounded warriors, certain severe disabilities that would qualify for immediate SSI payments, and certain illnesses that qualify for compassionate allowance or quick determination.
- Medicare or Medicaid applications necessary for provision of treatment
- Representative Payee designations or changes necessary to continue receiving benefits
- Change of address, change of direct deposit, change of Rep Payee, and notifications of death.