As the coronavirus pandemic impacts communities throughout Oklahoma and the rest of the country, everyday life has been disrupted for millions. Some people are concerned about whether COVID-19 will affect their ability to get Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.
People who had applications underway are wondering whether their claims are still being processed. And some are concerned about whether they will be able to obtain benefits if they have been diagnosed with the coronavirus.
Your SSI & SSDI Resource During COVID-19
At Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simons, we want to make sure that you have all the information and resources you need to protect your rights during this challenging time. We also want to provide ways to protect your finances as, unfortunately, there are plenty of scammers looking to take advantage of SSDI recipients during the pandemic. This page will explain some of the most important things you need to know about SSDI and SSI benefits in the time of the coronavirus pandemic.
It’s important to know that you will continue to receive disability benefits throughout the coronavirus outbreak. If your SSDI or SSI claim was already approved, you should keep getting benefits without interruption. If you receive your payment through direct deposit, it should arrive on schedule. While the postal service is still delivering checks by mail, there could be some delays in mail delivery based on varying local conditions.
At Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simons, our highly skilled and experienced Oklahoma City disability attorneys can:
- Help prepare an initial application for SSDI or SSI benefits. We can make sure your initial application is accurate, increasing the chance that it will be approved.
- Compile the required documentation for a successful claim and ensure there are no errors or omissions.
- Consult with your doctor to obtain the medical information and documentation needed for your claim.
- Appeal a denial of your benefits claim to the proper administrative level.
Our Oklahoma City disability lawyers offer skilled and experienced legal representation for clients. If you have questions about COVID-19 and your disability benefits, we are here to help. To schedule a free and confidential consultation, call us today or contact us online.
Social Security Hearings in Oklahoma
Social Security disability hearings can be very complex and confusing. Because the majority of SSDI applicants are initially denied disability benefits, many claims must go through the appeals process. During the hearing, you may testify and call witnesses to testify on your behalf, such as doctors who have examined you.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Social Security field offices and appeals hearings are being handled remotely. If you have an upcoming disability hearing, make sure you confirm it before going to a physical location. More than likely, you will be asked to participate in the hearing over the phone. If you are uncomfortable with a phone hearing, notify the judge, and your hearing can be postponed. It’s important to note that this may be on an office-by-office basis. Some offices will likely reopen sooner than others, so it’s best to call the office nearest you to find out.
The hearing is held before an administrative law judge (ALJ). You can review your claim, provide new information, and bring witnesses to the hearing. While you are not required to have a lawyer, an attorney can help gather information, speak to witnesses, and make the most effective arguments to the judge on your behalf.
If the ALJ denies your claim following the hearing, you may request a review of your file by the Social Security Administration’s Appeals Council, which will look for mistakes that may have been made in the hearing that led to the denial of your claim. The Appeals Council could decline the request, conduct the review and give a decision, or send your case back to the ALJ who heard it to examine it again.
The Oklahoma City disability lawyers at Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simons are well-versed in the laws and regulations related to SSDI. Because these laws can be very hard for someone who is not an attorney to understand, we strongly recommend you not try to go into your hearing alone. Consulting a qualified attorney can be a tremendous help.
At Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simons, we can help you prepare for an Oklahoma Social Security disability hearing by making sure the information you provide is accurate and appropriate and that ALJs follow the law. Every Oklahoma disability case is different. It’s in your best interest to consult an Oklahoma disability attorney for specific advice about your unique claim and the disability appeals process.
Are Social Security Disability Recipients Eligible for Stimulus Checks?
Yes, Social Security recipients are eligible for stimulus checks. If your adjusted gross income (AGI) is $75,000 or less ($150,000 or less for married couples), you should be eligible for a $1,200 check as part of the COVID-19 relief package.
You won’t be eligible for a stimulus payment once your income hits $99,000 for singles ($198,000 for couples). You should receive the stimulus payment the same way you receive your Social Security benefits.
These stimulus payments will not be counted as income for the purposes of Social Security disability. This means that you can use your stimulus money without fear that it will disqualify you from disability coverage. The stimulus check does not count as income for any SSDI disability calculation.
Protect Yourself from Scams
Increasing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic have resulted in the rise of coronavirus-related scams as scammers seek to take advantage of public fears. Scammers seek not only to profit through exploiting public health issues but also spread false and fraudulent information. It’s important to remain vigilant and use good practices to protect yourself from scams and fraud.
The distribution of stimulus checks has been staggered, meaning that not all the checks are going to be printed at the same time. It could take some time for your stimulus check to arrive. Just as the federal government is trying to send you money to help you, there are scammers out there trying to steal those funds.
- Scammers will send out bogus stimulus checks in an amount that’s greater than what you should receive, then ask you to send back the overpayment.
- Callers are posing as representatives from the Treasury Department and asking for personal information in exchange for releasing a stimulus payment.
- Scammers also send emails with links for you to click in order to receive your payment.
- They may even threaten you and demand immediate payment to avoid arrest.
Do not be fooled and trust your gut. If something sounds wrong, it probably is.
While Social Security could call you in some situations, the agency will never:
- Suspend your Social Security number
- Demand immediate payment
- Threaten you
- Require payment by cash, pre-paid debit card, gift card, or wire transfer
- Ask you to wire or mail cash
Tips to keep in mind to help protect yourself from social security scams:
- If you get a call from someone you don’t know, just hang up. Also, don’t return suspicious calls.
- Don’t give out your financial information to anyone you don’t know. The Treasury Department will not be calling you to ask for your personal or financial information.
- If you are unsure if a call is from the Social Security Administration, contact them yourself for confirmation before sharing any sensitive information.
- Watch out for calls or letters claiming that your benefits will be canceled due to COVID-19-related office closures. Social Security offices are closed, but employees are still working, and your benefits will not be suspended. Your Social Security number will also never be suspended.
Contact Our Oklahoma Social Security Disability Attorneys
For over 30 years, the highly skilled and experienced Oklahoma City disability attorneys at Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simons have been helping to secure SSDI and SSI benefits for our clients. We have the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to navigate this complicated system and help you seek the maximum benefits you deserve.
To find out more about we can help you with your claim, call us today to schedule a free initial consultation.
We never request attorney’s fees in Social Security disability claims unless you are approved and receive benefits.Get Started