Social Security Customer Service

The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers customer service online, by phone and at field offices across the country. Which contact method is most appropriate or effective depends on the kind of help you need and, for the time being, on how and when local offices emerge from COVID-19 protocols that have kept them closed to walk-in visits since March 2020.

Pending their reopening, Social Security offices are providing in-person service by appointment only and just for select situations involving urgent benefit issues or Social Security numbers. The SSA has said local offices will reopen to walk-in traffic and expand appointment opportunities in April, but it has not set an exact date.

In the meantime, you can conduct most routine business, including applying for benefits and filing appeals, at the Social Security website or by calling the SSA’s national customer service line (800-772-1213).

Getting help online: My Social Security

You can apply for retirement and spousal benefitsSocial Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Medicare online through the SSA website (but not for survivor benefits). You can also begin an application for Supplementary Security Income (SSI), but in some circumstances you will have to finish it by phone or in person.

Opening an online My Social Security account gives you 24/7 access to your Social Security statement, which shows your earnings history and estimated future benefit payments. You can also track the status of an application for benefits or pending appeal and request a replacement Social Security card.

My Social Security services expand once you start collecting benefits. Among other things, you can use your account to get copies or request replacements of key documents, including tax forms and official verification of your benefit status; report a change of address to the SSA; and change bank details for direct deposit of your monthly payments.

The AARP Social Security Resource Center has a tutorial on creating a My Social Security account. The SSA’s Online…