Slowdowns at local Social Security Offices
At the LaPorte Law firm, our attorneys and staff regularly interact with the local Social Security offices located throughout Northern California and Hawaii. This experience has allowed us to understand the slowdowns the Social Security Administration has experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic.
After in-person services were shut down in March 2020, there has been a slowdown in the processing of benefit applications and appeals. Because in-person services are limited, we have noticed an increase in phone wait times as the Social Security Administration has experienced a significant uptick in phone calls. Moreover, a new report from the Inspector General found that the Agency is still behind in processing any mail they receive. You can read the full report here.
With an increase in phone calls and mail, the workers at the Social Security Administration have had to adapt to remote work. We have talked to workers who have said they feel overwhelmed with the additional phone requests and mail backlog.
Historically, the Social Security Administration has put forth significant efforts to respond to claimants’ and representatives’ telephone inquiries. However, their efforts were often complicated by the heavy volume of telephone contacts. For example, the payment center in Richmond, California (the processing center where SSA representatives work on all payment-related issues, including payment of benefits and correction of offsets for individuals over age 54) has long been known for not responding to calls or taking calls.
At the LaPorte Law Firm, we have tracked these backlogs, reported these concerning developments to the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR), submitted congressional inquiries on behalf of our clients, and adopted workaround strategies to effectively contact the Social Security Administration. We have successfully resolved issues for our clients who have suffered delays in the processing of their applications and benefits.