HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The state lifted its COVID restrictions earlier this week, but what about the federal government? A viewer wanted an in-person meeting at Social Security only to find its offices closed.

Margaret Tricarico has a Social Security form. “That needs to be hand-delivered. Not mailed, not computerized,” Tricarico said.

She first took it to Social Security in Carlisle. “There’s a great big sign on the door that says closed for COVID,” Tricarico said. Next stop, Harrisburg. “Again, doors locked, signs on the doors, no lights on,” Tricarico said.

So Margaret called the 800 number. “The woman said that form needs to be hand-delivered. I said, ‘I understand that but your offices are still closed. When are your offices opening?’ she said ‘I don’t know,'” Tricarico said.

Abc27 contacted Social Securtiy, which sent a statement. It said “We have been and remain open for business” but said citizens should access services online or by phone, adding that “In-person appointments are for limited, critical situations.”

“My mother is gonna be 90-years-old. My mother is not very computer savvy,” Tricarico said. “There still has to be a physical location to go to for these people to interact with someone.”

Social Security responded quickly. It is keeping appointments at the Harrisburg office and contacted Margaret to fix her problem in Carlisle. That’s well and good she says but with the pandemic winding down, she still thinks Social Security needs to be more social.

“I think the federal administration should be open,” Tricarico said. “The Social Security Administration is supposed to be there for those who have needs. I don’t see them open.”

Social Security Limited in-person services because of the pandemic, it said in its statement but didn’t say when it would be getting back to normal. You can read the statement in its entirety below.

We have been and remain open for business, and we currently provide multiple service delivery options for all Americans.  Most Social Security services are available to the public online at www.ssa.gov, by telephone, or via in-person appointments for limited, critical situations, depending upon local office conditions.  If a person cannot use our online services, they can call their local office (www.ssa.gov/locator) or our National 800 Number, 1-800-772-1213, for assistance.  These service options are available in every state and ensure that we are able to deliver service across the country.              

We continue to pursue solutions to improve our service during the pandemic, like secure drop boxes in local offices to submit documents and expanding express interviews nationwide to minimize the time the public must spend in our offices to limit close contact.  To assist those mailing documents into the office, we are temporarily allowing people to mail in an original or certified secondary identity document with their paper Social Security Number application if they cannot request a replacement SSN card online, or if they are unwilling or unable to mail the primary identity document.  Examples of primary and secondary level documents that are acceptable can be found on SSA’s website at www.ssa.gov/coronavirus/.

Social Security Administration Senior Public Affairs Specialist, Vivian Nichols