The COVID-19 pandemic is creating uncertainty for folks across East Tennessee, including for our seniors. My office has received many questions from senior citizens about COVID-19's impact on their federal benefits, and the Social Security Administration and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has provided guidance for those concerned about their federal benefits. I encourage all seniors in our community to use this page as a resource during the COVID-19 crisis.
Social Security Administration:
For the latest updates on COVID-19's impact on the Social Security Administration, please visit the SSA's official COVID-19 resource page.
On March 16, the Social Security Administration announced all recepients will continue to receive Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income payments through direct deposit and the United State Postal Service.
In order to practice social distancing and prevent the spread of COVID-19, local Social Security Administration offices are closed until further notice. SSA officers are continuing to provide services by phone and internet. Access or sign-up for online services by visiting the SSA's online services page, and call 866-331-9091 or 1-800-772-1213 for assistance over the phone. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, call the TTY number at 1-800-325-0778.
The Inspector General of Social Security, Gail S. Ennis, has warned of new social security scams circulating during the current COVID-19 crisis. Beware of fraudulent letters threatening the suspension of Social Security benefits due to COVID-19-related office closures. The SSA will not suspend or discontinue benefits due to the crisis.
Medicare Services & Coronavirus:
For the latest updates on COVID-19's impact on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, please visit Medicare's official COVID-19 resource page.
Medicare and Medicare Advantage Pans cover several COVID-19 related needs:
- COVID-19 lab tests. Medicare recipients pay no out-of-pocket costs.
- Medically necessary hospitalizations, including for COVID-19 diagnosis
- Medicare Part D will cover the vaccine for COVID-19 once it is created
Medicare is temporarily expanding telehealth and related services to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a part of social distancing, Americans have been advised to avoid public spaces in order to reduce the risk of spreading or contracting COVID-19. This means many are unable to visit their doctor's office, and telehealth and related services is a solution to help medicare recipients see their healthcare provider. You can use telehealth services to:
- Speak to a medical professional from anywhere, including your home
- Use your smartphone or computer to communicate with a medical professional
- Interact with a wide range of providers
- Describe any health problems, receive a diagnosis for a health condition, get mental health counseling, and conduct preventive health screenings
To learn more about telehealth or schedule a telehealth appointment, visit the Medicare telehealth website.
If you need assistance with the Social Security Administration or Medicare, please leave a voicemail by calling my Knoxville office at 865-523-3772. A member of my staff will be in touch to help you with your issue.