What to expect with Social Security Claims and the COVID-19 Pandemic
Economic Impact Payments Extended to SSI stands for Supplemental Security Income. Social Security administers this program. We pay monthly benefits to people with limited income and resources who are disabled, blind, or age 65 or older. Blind or disabled children may also get SSI. Recipients
On March 30, 2020, Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul issued a press release announcing that those receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will receive $1,200 Economic Impact Payments for themselves and $500 for each child under 17. Those not filing tax returns in 2018 or 2019, however, will need to register online at https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-here.
Of note, no Economic Impact Payments will be issued on Direct Express cards. They will be issued by direct deposit to confirmed bank accounts or by mail. For further information, click here.
Social Security Disability and SSI Program Operations
During the pandemic, Social Security has assured the public that Social Security benefit payments would continue.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) is a U.S. government agency that administers social programs covering disability, retirement, and survivors' benefits. It was created in 1935 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. offices have remained closed to the public since March 17, 2020. Online services, however, are fully operational. Social Security Administrative Law Judges are working remotely and holding Social Security hearings by phone. Claimants are instructed they can decline doing their hearings by phone without prejudice. Given the nature of Social Security hearings and the long timelines already associated with claims, our Social Security Disability attorneys are encouraging phone hearings. During the pandemic, we have successfully held hundreds of phone hearings so far with little issue.
Delays are Inevitable
For clients who may decline doing their Social Security hearings by phone, it is still too early to tell when these hearings will be rescheduled. With SSA staff working from home, it is also too early to know how long written hearing decisions will take to process. Our law offices expect delays in client payments and attorney fee processing.
SSA claims it will provide “maximum flexibility” for missed appeals for Social Security benefits during the pandemic. Homeless populations we serve have been hit particularly hard with the variable nature shelter availability. Missed appeals require refiling claims and create unnecessary delay. Our law offices will review this flexibility in the coming months.
SSA is suspending overpayment and cessation claims processing. It is not holding hearings on non-disability matters, such as cessations or overpayments.
SSA Board of Trustees Projects Trust Fund Depletion
In separate news, on April 22, the Social Security Board of Trustees projected that the Old Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Trust Fund will be fully payable through the year 2034. At that point, 79% of these benefits would be payable. The Board projected that the Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund will be fully payable through the year 2065—a 13-year improvement from last year’s projections. At that point, 92% of these benefits would be payable. For details, click here.