HOW DOES COVID-19 AFFECT DISABILITY CLAIMANTS?

Posted on April 13th, 2020 by Angela Davis

Social Security disability claimants are individuals with disabilities who need to file a social security disability application or who currently have an application pending.  The current Covid-19 Crisis has caused the Social Security Administration to take precautions such as closing their buildings to the public and many disabled claimants may now question how or if to proceed with their disability claims.

In short, any person who believes they are disabled and unable to work due to any major medical problems, or a combination thereof, should file their application right away.  Any person who has received a denial of benefits from the Social Security Administration should file their appeal within the 60 days allowed under the governing law. 

Claimants should not be lulled into postponing any action on their claim believing that late action will be forgiven due to the current state of emergency.  It is possible that late action (filing an appeal after the deadline) may be forgiven, but other issues also play.  All cases (with some exceptions) are worked by the Social Security Administration in a first-in / first-out manner.  If claimants appeal timely, they will likely be scheduled to be heard or receive a decision on their appeal before those individuals who wait and ask for forgiveness for their tardy appeals at a later date.

There is a similar problem created by not filing your application early.  If you wait to file, this can not be corrected later and you may ultimately lose benefits.  If you are disabled and unable to work due to your medical impairments, file an application for benefits.  This can be handled on-line so no need to wait for the Social Security Administration office doors to open.

 “We’ve received many calls in the past few weeks from individuals who are concerned that COVID-19 could limit their access to disability benefits,” states Angela Davis-Morris, managing attorney at Davis-Morris Law Firm in Hattiesburg, Miss. “While the Social Security Administration has closed its buildings as a safety precaution, this does not change what claimants need to do to take action on their claim.  It simply changes how they go about it.”

Another common question is what happens to disability hearings that are already scheduled now that there is no access to the Social Security hearing office buildings.  “As we understand it, the Judges are allowing hearings to proceed via telephone conference and are also liberally allowing postponements on a case-by-case basis,” says Davis-Morris. 

The bottom line? Start or continue your case just as if this national emergency were not taking place.  There are online options available at www.ssa.gov. If you need guidance on how to proceed, Davis-Morris Law Firm can help.

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