The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all Americans, including those who receive Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. You may be wondering how the virus has affected and will continue to affect your benefits.
Reaching the Social Security Administration
You may find it more difficult to reach Social Security during this time. The Social Security Administration (SSA) recommends that you do any business you can through their online services. If you are not comfortable with that, you can try to reach them by phone. They recommend either contacting your local field office or calling their national 800 number. I personally recommend contacting your local office directly by phone. We have the contact information for Iowa SSA offices listed in our free Social Security Disability Guidebook.
If you want an in-person appointment, you need to schedule one in advance in order to enter an office. You will need to wear a face mask during your appointment.
Do You Have a Hearing Coming Up for Social Security Benefits?
If you have a hearing scheduled with an Administrative Law Judge, two things may happen:
- Your hearing may be delayed, or
- Your hearing may take place via telephone.
It is your choice to delay your hearing if you do not want to conduct it via telephone. If you are comfortable with moving forward, the SSA will reach out to you to make sure your contact information is correct. If you have an attorney, Social Security may reach out to them instead.
Social Security Benefits and Unemployment Benefits During COVID-19
If you are receiving unemployment benefits, you may need to inform Social Security that you are receiving these benefits. It depends upon the kind of disability benefits you receive.
If you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), then you will need to let Social Security know that you are receiving unemployment benefits. This is because SSI is a needs-based program, and any income that you receive besides your SSI payment must be reported. Your SSI check may decrease if you are receiving other types of benefits.
If you receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you do not need to let Social Security know about this. SSDI benefits are calculated by how much money you have paid into the system by working, so it will be unaffected by unemployment. However, your unemployment compensation may be affected by you receiving SSDI benefits, so contact the Iowa state unemployment office to see if it will affect you.
Be Careful of Disability Scams
The SSA is warning the public about fraudulent letters that threaten disability payments may be suspended. These notices are not coming from the SSA and are false. You will continue to receive your disability payments during this time, even though the SSA may not be operating like normal.
Keep in mind this situation can change, and the best way to know about any changes is to look on the SSA’s website for details about the coronavirus. We know this is a confusing time for everyone, so if you have any questions about your case or your benefits, call RSH Legal at 1-319-774-1903.