Social Security Administration field offices across Georgia opened in April after a gap of more than 2 years. If you are planning a visit to your nearest Social Security office, here is what you need to keep in mind.
Most Social Security offices are likely to be swamped in the first few weeks and months after the opening. The crush is likely to be even more severe in states like Georgia that have massive backlogs of Social Security claims. While most Social Security Administration activities were delayed as a result of the transition to online and phone services during the pandemic, the impact on claims filed under the Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income programs has been especially severe. The pipeline has been clogged and thousands of claims remain yet to be processed. That translates into large wait times at these offices.
Know that you will probably also have long wait times as you wait for appointments via phone. Social Security Administration phone lines also have been clogged during the pandemic, and now that offices have opened, that problem is likely to become even worse, as thousands of potential beneficiaries call the agency’s hotline numbers. Applicants have been complaining about being placed on hold for several minutes with no contact with any officer.
The Social Security Administration is advising applicants and beneficiaries to continue to use online services if they are able to do so and if their concerns are addressed through these services. Make sure that you schedule appointments well in advance. Also remember that we are still in the middle of a pandemic which means that you must wear a mask, especially if you are immunocompromised, when you visit your nearest field office. Visitor numbers are currently being restricted for the same reason.