Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the Disability Advocacy Project (DAP) at Nassau Suffolk Law Services has been hard at work representing clients with Social Security issues. Unlike many courts and agencies, the Social Security Administration continued to process claims and hold hearings without interruption during the pandemic. As processes and rules changed, our attorneys quickly adapted to the challenges of Social Security representation during a novel and uncertain time.
In March 2020, in response to the State of Emergency, the Social Security Administration implemented telephone hearings. While participation in telephone hearings is optional, in-person hearings will not be scheduled until the current health crisis has abated. Our attorneys promptly alerted our clients to their rights and responsibilities under the temporary rules, and helped claimants make informed decisions on how to proceed with their cases.
By participating in trainings and meetings with DAP providers across the state, our attorneys quickly learned and implemented new procedures for communicating with the Social Security Administration, preparing cases, and representing our clients in telephone hearings. As a result, the DAP unit was able to continuously represent clients at Social Security hearings throughout 2020.
Additionally, our DAP attorneys helped claimants navigate new legal issues precipitated by the pandemic. Our attorneys have advocated for claimants at local Social Security offices, helped clients claim their stimulus checks, and represented claimants in Supplemental Security Income discontinuations due to widespread identity theft and unemployment fraud.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our DAP attorneys have been able to quickly conform to the changing Social Security landscape. As a result, our clients have been able to access benefits that they are entitled to.