Some business must be conducted in person, and that is certainly the case when it comes to the Social Security Administration. Many people visit their local SSA office for various reasons each day. However, nothing is more frustrating than arriving at your local Social Security office only to find that it is closed. With the current pandemic, more and more offices are closing or operating on reduced hours. So, is the Social Security office open? We will answer that question and give you all the details about visiting your local office, so just keep reading.
Are Social Security Offices Open During The Pandemic?
Many Americans find themselves wondering whether their local Social Security field offices are open during the current pandemic. The answer is yes, but with a caveat. The offices are currently only open for appointments. No walk-ins are being accepted at this time, so the offices are not really open to the public. Social Security offices originally closed back in March of 2020. They have been closed to the public and most in-person services since that time. However, many field offices have started opening for critical appointments only.
In addition to the Coronavirus pandemic, Social Security is having trouble with staffing in many offices. This has prevented them from opening offices more quickly. However, the Social Security Administration has stated that they are currently increasing their staff to handle more in-person appointments in their offices. So, when will Social Security offices open? No one knows for certain, but they currently have more than 1,200 offices across the country that are open for appointments. You can use a Social Security office locator to determine specifics about your local office.
Some people also ask, “Is Social Security affected by a government shutdown?” This question comes up frequently as Congress must vote to extend government funding and prevent a shutdown. In most cases, Social Security is considered an essential service and is not affected by a shutdown.
Social Security Offices & Federal Holidays
Federal offices, including Social Security offices, have been closed on Federal holidays for years. This applies to all Federal agencies like the IRS and post office. This is nothing new, but it can still be frustrating to arrive at the office on an obscure holiday to find them closed. So, what are the holidays on which the offices are closed? Here is a complete list.
2021 Federal Holidays
|New Year's Day||Friday, January 1|
|Martin Luther King Jr. Day||Monday, January 18|
|Presidents' Day||Monday, February 15|
|Memorial Day||Monday, May 31|
|Independence Day||Monday, July 5 (July 4 falls on Sunday)|
|Labor Day||Monday, September 6|
|Columbus Day||Monday, October 11|
|Veterans Day||Thursday, November 11|
|Thanksgiving Day||Thursday, November 25|
|Christmas Day||Friday, December 24 (December 25 falls on Saturday)|
|New Year's Day 2022||Friday, December 31 (January 1 falls on Saturday)|
If you visit your Social Security office on any of the days above, you will find that they are completely closed. They will not accept appointments on those days as no employees will be present.
Getting An Appointment At Your Local Social Security Office
While Social Security is heavily pushing people to use their online services currently, there are still limited situations under which you can request an in-person appointment. Social Security limits those to what they call “limited, critical situations” that cannot be resolved online, over the phone, or through the mail. These situations usually involve help with benefits or help with your Social Security number. Here are more details about each.
— Help With Benefits
Appointments for people needing help with Social Security benefits are limited to the most critical situations. For example, if you are without food or housing due to a benefits issue, then you likely would be able to schedule an appointment. You may need to apply to reinstate benefit payments. However, simply updating your direct deposit information would not warrant an appointment. This is something that could be accomplished through a mySocialSecurity account at www.ssa.gov.
— Help With Social Security Number
Just like with benefit issues, getting an appointment for help with your Social Security number has a priority system as well. These appointments are reserved for people age 12 and over who are getting their first Social Security card or need to update information related to their Social Security number such as a name change or citizenship status change. These people may also be unwilling or unable to mail original documents. For example, you might not want to mail your original birth certificate or driver’s license to prove your identity on your application. So, you could make an appointment to accomplish this. Simply requesting a replacement card is not enough to warrant an appointment in most cases. Replacement Social Security cards can be requested online as well as replacement Medicare cards.
How To Get Help If Your Local Office Is Closed
The best way to get help if your Social Security Administration office is closed is by utilizing the online services available through your Social Security account online. Services available online have greatly expanded in recent months in response to office closures. You can perform many functions online such as viewing your Social Security statement, signing up for spousal benefits, applying for retirement benefits, applying for Medicare benefits, applying for disability benefits like SSDI or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and many other things. Your first stop for trying to do something should be MyAccount through the Social Security website.
If, however, you are unable to find what you need online, you can also call the Social Security Administration on their toll-free phone number at 800-772-1213. This line has some automated services that are available 24 hours per day. If you wish to speak to a live agent, then you should call between 8:00 AM and 5:30 PM on weekdays. Remember that all offices are closed on Federal holidays, so you will not get a live agent on those days.
The Bottom Line
While Social Security offices remain closed to the public, there are certain circumstances under which you can request an in-person appointment. However, those are limited to the most critical circumstances in which people need immediate help to resolve their issue. Otherwise, you will need to get help online or over the phone. The online services available through SSA.gov have greatly increased recently, so you can accomplish almost any task associated with Social Security benefits there.
Frequently Asked Questions
What time do Social Security offices open?
Under normal conditions, local Social Security offices typically open at 9:00AM local time. In the current environment, you might find that the available appointment times at your local office vary. In some cases, it might be days or weeks before an appointment is available. Staffing continues to increase so that the number of appointments the offices can handle continues to increase as well.
How long are Social Security offices open on weekdays?
Offices are typically open for 7 hours on each weekday. The Social Security office hours are typically 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Monday through Friday. However, remember that the offices are closed on holidays. Also remember that walk-ins are not currently accepted. You will be required to make an appointment, and you must meet the eligibility requirements to schedule an appointment at this time.
When will Social Security offices fully reopen after the pandemic?
Many people ask, “When will the SSA office near me reopen?” No one is certain when the offices will fully reopen. Over 1,200 offices are currently accepting appointments, and the Biden administration is working to get more offices opened at this time. Staffing issues have prevented some offices from fully opening, and those issues are also causing limited availability in appointments.