How will COVID-19 affect my Social Security Disability hearing or appeal?

I hope everyone is staying protected from the current and ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

We have gotten quite a few questions about how the current COVID-19 crisis affects Social Security cases.

We understand that you are rightly concerned about how this pandemic and its related shutdowns will affect your case.  The disability application process is very long and every extra delay is a delay in much-needed benefit payments.

We are not currently meeting clients in person, but everyone on our staff is continuing to diligently work on all of our cases so you can qualify for benefits in as timely a manner as possible.

We have reviewed numerous resources including SSA’s own press releases and information and wanted to pass along what we have learned:

How will COVID-19 affect Social Security Disability Initial Applications and Reconsiderations?

If you recently filed an initial application or reconsideration, SSA has not released any specific information on these processes, but we expect your claim will continue being processed. 

We expect some additional delays from SSA/DDS due to work-from-home instituted in many places including SSA, DDS, medical records providers, etc.

We also expect delays related to the scheduling of medical exams by SSA due to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's social distancing and other governmental guidelines on non-emergency medical procedures.

How Will COVID-19 Affect Social Security Disability Claims at the Hearing Stage?

How will COVID-19 Affect Social Security Disability Claims?If your claim is at the hearing stage and you have a hearing scheduled, your hearing may occur by telephone instead of video or in-person. 

If you choose to decline a phone hearing and wait for a rescheduled hearing, there is currently no timeline on when in-person hearings will resume.

If your claim is at the hearing stage and you do not have a hearing scheduled yet, we anticipate the SSA either 

  1. Delaying scheduling until the crisis is under control or
  2. Scheduling hearings for telephone conference.

*UPDATE* Our office has now participated in multiple hearings by telephone conference call.  Read about our experience and what to expect at a SSDI telephone hearing.

How Will COVID-19 Affect Appeals Council and Federal Reviews?

SSA has not indicated how or if these matters are proceeding or not. Based on other information, we anticipate additional delays due to SSA employees working-from-home and other general delays in the national economy.

How Will COVID-19 Affect Continuing Disability Reviews?

Continuing Disability Reviews have been suspended and are not being processed according to SSA. 

Processing of these cases will resume once the crisis is over.

SSA has indicated if you are currently in the process of a CDR, you should not request medical evidence from your providers at this time.  The SSA will follow up with you in due course.

Will COVID-19 Affect my Social Security Benefit Payments?

If you receive Social Security Disability benefits, you should see no interruption or change in receiving benefits due to the crisis.

I receive SSDI benefits. Can I still receive the Coronavirus Economic Impact Payment (aka Stimulus Check)?

Yes. The treasury department will direct deposit the money into the bank account that you use for benefit deposits.

*UPDATED 04/21/2020*

The IRS will use information from Social Security beneficiaries' 1099 documents (Form SSA-1099 or Form RRB-1099) for individuals who do not have 2018 or 2019 tax returns on record.‚Äč

The IRS is now asking 3 categories of Social Security recipients to immediately register online to make sure they receive their stimulus checks in the full amounts.

  1. People who receive Social Security retirement, survivors, or disability insurance benefits and who did not file a tax return for 2018 or 2019 and who have qualifying children under age 17.
  2. SSI recipients, especially those who have qualifying children under age 17.
  3. If you did NOT start receiving benefits until after Jan 1, 2020 and did not file a tax return in 2018 or 2019.  (Even if you do not have dependent children to report.)

If you fall into any of these categories, you need to register with the IRS immediately. 

If you fall into category 1 and do not register with the IRS by Wednesday, April 22, you will still receive your stimulus.  But not for the full amount.  You will receive the $1200 stimulus, but you need to let them know that you should receive additional money ($500 each) for your qualifying children.

A deadline for category 2 has not yet been announced, but you should take action now to receive your full stimulus amount.

If you fall into category 3, you will not receive a stimulus unless you register with the IRS.

Please take action now to receive your full stimulus amount.

If you do NOT fall into any of these categories, then you do not need to take any action at this time.

Track your Stimulus Check.

Beginning Friday, April 17, US Citizens will be able to track their COVID-19 relief payment using the IRS' "Get My Payment" tool.

All local Social Security Administration offices are currently closed to the public

For more information directly from SSA, please check out their Coronavirus FAQs and press releases.

Our team is committed to helping you as best we can during this crisis.

We have been updating our clients on their claim status and will update this post as more or new information becomes available. 

 
Loyd J. Bourgeois
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Nationally recognized attorney dedicated to fighting life's legal battles with compassion and care
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