Yes. Social security field offices across the country are now open for in-person appointments. Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency shut all its offices across the country to the public in March 2020. The move was primarily to safeguard the agency’s employees and its beneficiaries, many of whom are at high risk from the virus.
Since that time, virtually all aspects of the agency’s business with the public have been handled by phone, online, and via mail. According to reports, the Social Security Administration initially had plans to reopen its offices on Jan. 3, but that plan was delayed due to concerns from unions.
However, they fully reopened on April 7 after more than two years of strictly limited visitation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although Social Security field offices are again open to walk-in visitors, the agency strongly recommends making an appointment in advance to avoid lines and long waits.
Under normal operations, Social Security field offices are open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Under the new agreement, both employees and visitors are expected to wear masks before they can gain entry into Social Security offices, whether or not they are vaccinated.
To avoid waiting in line, it is recommended you first try using their online services or even reach out to the agency to schedule appointments in advance. In recent times, staffing has proven to be a big problem for the Social Security field office.
Owing to budget cuts to the agency, there are fewer workers for the massively growing number of applicants. Most often, employees at Social Security field offices don’t have the training or expertise to help you maximize your benefits the way a financial planner can.
Owing to that, people are advised to visit more than one Social Security field office to guarantee that they are receiving the most out of their benefits.
How to Make an In-Person Appointment at Social Security Offices
Just as noted above, it is recommended you try using the Social Security online services first. However, if you can’t resolve your problem or find the information you want on the website or over the phone, you can visit one of the Social Security field offices.
If you also need to request a Social Security card or update some kind of personal information, you may also have to visit one of the Social Security field offices. As long as you have an issue that qualifies for an in-person appointment, you can reach out to the Social Security Administration to make an in-person appointment.
To make this appointment in your local office, do not call that office. Have in mind that local offices do not make their own appointments. Instead, call the toll-free number 1-800-772-1213. Also, remember that Social Security tends to schedule appointments 2-4 weeks in advance.
According to the Social Security Administration, how long it takes to schedule an appointment will vary depending on staffing as well as the local health and safety conditions. Nevertheless, if you do not qualify for an in-person appointment you can still reach out to the agency or use the expanded online services.
Agency workers are available between 8:00 am and 7:00 pm, Monday through Friday, also at 1-800-772-1213. According to the agency, wait times are shorter later in the day and Wednesdays through Fridays. Also, note that Spanish speakers can get assistance by calling the same toll-free number and first letting the pre-recorded system or representative know that they would like to speak to a representative in Spanish.
For individuals who can’t make a call during these times, note that recorded information and services are available 24 hours a day and on weekends. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing can call toll-free at 1-800-325-0778 to address any issues or get their inquiries answered.
Anyone who cannot call the National 800 number maybe because they reside or are currently outside the United States can use the following number, 410-965-0160. Know that this is not a toll-free number, and you have to pay for the cost of the call. Representatives are available at this number on weekdays between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm Eastern US Time.
Truth be told, online services and telephone remain the easiest ways to reach out to the Social Security agency. Whatever the status of your local office and whatever the day or time, you can securely access many Social Security agency services with an online My Social Security account. If there is a need to visit any of their field offices, note that anyone without appointments will experience delays and long waits.