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Are Social Security Offices Open? 

texarkana social security office

On March 17, 2020, the Social Security Administration closed all its offices to the public for in-person services due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

For those who were accustomed to receiving face-to-face service to address issues with or questions about their benefits, this has been a massive shift in how they interact with the federal agency. 

More than one year later, the pandemic is officially still ongoing — but the strict lockdowns and business closures that we saw last spring have eased considerably. With restaurants and retail stores operating mostly as normal, you might wonder, are Social Security offices open too?

The questions I’m starting to hear now are along the lines of, “Are Social Security offices open for any services?” But maybe the one we should really be asking is more like, “When will Social Security offices open again?”

If you were eager to communicate in person with the SSA, you may need to wait a little while longer still. Social Security offices generally remain closed as of May 2021… but there may be a few circumstances that allow for in-person service. 

Are Social Security Offices Open for Any Services?

There are a few limited cases where you may be able to schedule a one-on-one meeting at your local Social Security Administration office. These meetings are by appointment only, and appointments are only granted in critical circumstances

Appointments are generally granted if:

  • You are without food or shelter, including utilities, and need to apply for or reinstate benefits.
  • You are without medical care or coverage and need to apply for or reinstate benefits.
  • You currently receive benefits and have an urgent need for payment to meet expenses for food, shelter, or medical treatment, and you cannot receive the payment electronically.
  • You are age 12 or older and applying for your first Social Security card.
  • You need to update or correct your Social Security information (such as your name, date of birth, or citizenship) to obtain income, resources, or medical care or coverage, or other services or benefits (for example filing a tax return, applying for housing, or seeking an Economic Impact Payment).

If your situation falls outside of these circumstances, you’ll have to conduct your business online or over the phone. Thankfully, this doesn’t need to be as tedious as it may seem — and it is possible to receive good service even if Social Security offices aren’t open for in-person meetings quite yet.

Over the past several years, the Administration worked hard to expand the services they offer online. You can now apply for retirement, disability, and Medicare benefits online, check the status of an application or appeal, print a benefit verification letter, and a lot more. 

There’s Good Reason for Social Security Offices to Open ASAP

That being said, reopening Social Security offices as soon as possible needs to be considered a priority. While services are available via the phone, that doesn’t help much unless you have a good computer with a strong internet connection in your own home.

The continued closure of Social Security offices under most circumstances does present a major challenge to the hundreds of thousands of individuals who may lack access to a computer, internet connection, or don’t have a reliable phone number or mailing address. 

The decreased lack of access to the local SSA offices has been blamed for the decrease in Social Security benefits applications. Since the closure of offices, newly awarded SSI applications are down 30%

Critics of the SSA office closures say that this is a sign of a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable population: those with low income and disabilities.

When Will Social Security Offices Open Again? 

Unfortunately, the real answer to “When will Social Security offices open again?” may be never, at least in some cases. A permanent closing of most of these offices could be the eventual outcome, even as the pandemic fades into the rearview mirror. 

This could become even more likely if a proposal from one of the big Social Security employee’s unions gets their way.  

This proposal is coming from the National Council of Social Security Administration Field Operations Locals. They represent nearly 29,000 social security employees which means they represent half of all the SSA employees. 

But perhaps more importantly, they are an affiliate of the American Federation of Government Employees. This union covers 700,000 government workers, which gives them a loud, powerful voice. When they speak, many politicians pay close attention.  

The union sent a letter to the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration to make their request very clear. “Teleworking should be the Agency standard, with all case work that can be handled ‘virtually’ required to be handled via telephone and internet,” part of the letter stated. It continued, “Following the IRS model, a single field office should be opened in every congressional district for necessary in-person meetings, trainings, etc.” 

Right now there are 435 Congressional Districts. If there was only one field office for each district, the Social Security Administration would need to permanently close more than two-thirds of its current offices.

If the Administration truly mirrored the IRS’ model for field offices, you’d only have about 300 locations. Needless to say, that would be a massive shift in how the Administration delivers their service. 

What Do You Think of Proposals to Permanently Close SSA Offices? 

So now I’d like to hear from you. Do you think closing most of the Social Security offices is a good idea? I’d like to hear your thoughts in the comments below. 

Don’t leave without downloading my Social Security cheat sheet. It’s completely free and packed with information that I’ve distilled from thousands of government website pages. 

Also, if you haven’t already, you should join the other 330,000 subscribers on my YouTube channel. If you’re subscribed with notifications turned on, you’ll know as soon as I release a new video. See you there!  



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David Hobbs
David Hobbs
4 months ago

No I do not think social security offices should close there’s a lot of people who need that face-to-face contact in order to get something done it’s very difficult to get to talk to somebody over the phone with social security my daughter-in-law has been married for 2 years and we still haven’t been able to get the name change right with social security they require certain documents that are to be the actual documents and not a photocopy I will not send them actual documents of her ID marriage license or birth certificate because I will never see them… Read more »

Michelle
Michelle
8 months ago

I think closing offices and switching to a virtual format would be catastrophic. I have found that the SSA has a solid reputation for claiming they “never receive” mailed in documents. My husband passed in 2018 and I had lawyers mail the necessary documents 3 times over for my children’s death benefits. 3 death certificates are somewhere out in the abyss. (Yes, even the ones mailed certified.) Every time, they claimed they never received them. I finally got fed up and hauled my kids down to the office to get it done in person. Now that I’ve gotten remarried I… Read more »

Olga cruz
Olga cruz
8 months ago

Social security offices need to open. They are needed. Please open them next year

gary swain
gary swain
8 months ago

closing all offices is ridiculous. people need face to face contact to try to understand the complex system. I for one am already confused and I have to apply soon due to my age.

Jason L Mann
Jason L Mann
8 months ago

Why is is impossible for me to replace my lost social security card?

Shahid I Khan
Shahid I Khan
9 months ago

I am anxiously waiting for the SS office to open for public to have one to one meeting.
Totally against working online or over the phone.
Please give us the date when one to one meeting facility will be available.

johanna lopes
johanna lopes
9 months ago

I need to get Medicare and this is not acceptable I need an appointment or I will be without healthcare after working the better part of 50 years!

average amrican
average amrican
9 months ago

bad idea the internet is not that relieable for matters of real importance I set up online account it only worked 1 time then i could never make it work again so when nothing works what do you do ? where do you go ? who do you see ? as for compareing it to the I.R.S. we know all too well just how good that doesn’t work BAD IDEA just another way to be lazy and take no responsabilty something goes wrong blame the machine which never helps anybody then to every time you turn around all you here… Read more »

Mark Chapnan
9 months ago

Why is the Carlisle SS office closed fir face to face when most all other programs in PA are open. I need to have a phone call to sign up for my SS and I can’t do it online. Mark Chapman Mechanicsburg pa

johanna lopes
johanna lopes
9 months ago

TRYING TO RETIRE!!!!!!! IT HAS BEEN CRAZY!!!!! NO ONE TO HELP AND THE WEBSITE IS NOT HELPFUL!!!!!!

M. Kinsey
M. Kinsey
10 months ago

Social security customer service people are not trained properly to work from home. I was approved for benefits back in 2020 and I’m still trying to receive my benefits and have spoke to several customer service reps over the last 7 months. Not one of them has figured out how to help me get my benefits started! As far as I’m concerned Social Security is running an incompetent system working with closed doors towards tax payers. They need to open there doors so that me and others can get the service that we pay for as tax payers.

LC Joyce
LC Joyce
10 months ago

I think closing that many Social Security offices is an okay idea, as long as other options were implemented. Definitely yes to having one office in each congressional district, but also look to some flexibility in offering services to underserved populations, rural population and areas with lower than average access to computers and the internet. Some ideas might be to offer home appointments, or have a mobile pop up office that offers service near places like homeless shelters, the VA, retirement communities, public housing and public health et cetera. Another idea could be to offer in person access to forms… Read more »

Barbara
Barbara
11 months ago

No! It is a ridiculous idea to close SS offices! Nothing like sitting on hold for two or more hours while waiting for a person to speak to. Leaving a message for them to call back is a joke because we have lives and cannot always answer the phone when they call back. Then you have to go through the whole stupid process again. I have been through both of these scenarios. I have a sister and brother-in-law who do not have internet and wouldn’t know what to do with it even if they did. I’m sure they are not… Read more »

Barnum Botz
Barnum Botz
11 months ago

The SSA was formed for the American citizen, not the employee union. Open every single SSA office. The cry baby union people need to assume risk like the rest of the people in the country.

Dan K
Dan K
11 months ago

They need to have a street presence. Sensitive documents should not be sent to private home addresses for the convenience of workers. There needs to be a central office that deals with this kind of paperwork, keeps it safe and accountable. They can make appointments online, but then meet in person to review documents. Otherwise, when the court changes a name and stamps the paperwork the court should also stamp the new social security card and be done with it.

Michael Geffert
Michael Geffert
1 year ago

I would rather they permanently close the IRS

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