Q & A: The Corona Virus & the Disability Benefits Team | Andalman & Flynn Law Firm
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Q & A: The Corona Virus & the Disability Benefits Team

Apr 1, 2020 | Disability Law, Maryland Law, Maryland State Disability, Social Security Disability

By Peter Casciano, Esq., 301.563.6685

Will Andalman & Flynn employees continue working during the COVID-19 pandemic?

We will continue working. First, we are currently considered an “essential” business meaning that we are permitted to work in the office in order to perform critical tasks for our clients. Second, we will also be teleworking in order to meet the day to day needs of our clients.

I am very worried about COVID-19, my inability to work and/or the current situation in general. What can I do?

Anxiety regarding this worldwide health crisis is very real and very troubling. The CDC has set up helplines across the country and provides coping strategies here. If you or someone you know is struggling with these issues, please encourage them to seek medical help. Many mental health treatment providers are pipelined into this specific issue and offer many different telehealth options to provide the care folks need.

I have a doctor’s appointment coming up. Should I still go?

We are currently recommending that all clients immediately contact their doctor’s office regarding upcoming appointments. Depending on the nature of the appointment and your medical condition, patients must listen to the advice of their physician on whether they must attend in person, may utilize telehealth to complete the appointment, or should postpone the appointment completely. If the physician’s office leaves the decision up to you, we recommend that you hold the appointment virtually via telehealth.

I have documentation to send to the disability benefits department at Andalman & Flynn. What is the best way to do that?

Currently, we are recommending that documents are sent to us by fax or email. For files too large to fax, we subscribe to a secure, HIPAA compliant file sharing service. Please call your contact at A&F to inquire about how to use our file sharing service.

I have already been approved for disability benefits. Will I continue to receive my disability benefit payments?

We have not seen any interruption in pay to any of our claimants already in pay status. Across the spectrum of the systems in which we practice – federal employee disability retirement, long/short term disability, Maryland state employee disability retirement, and social security disability – all systems have continued to make disability payments to those already approved.

Are the Social Security Administration offices closed?

Yes. The Social Security Administration offices across the country are closed to the general public. Everyone is encouraged to visit their website in order to perform actions like filing your appeal, obtaining your SSA earnings record, and locating the best phone number to call.

My Social Security disability hearing is coming up. Will it take place?

Yes, the SSA is still holding hearings, except all hearings are now taking place by phone. Please contact your Office of Hearing Operations (OHO) now to discuss with them the logistics of holding your hearing by phone.

My federal employee disability retirement claim is pending on initial or on reconsideration. Is OPM open and are the employees working?

Much of the federal government is operating on a mandatory telework schedule. We know from experience that OPM employees are continuing to work. Any deadlines that you have coming up should be met by you. If you cannot meet a deadline you must request an extension in writing and provide them with the reasons why you are unable to meet the upcoming deadline.

My federal employee disability retirement claim is pending at the Merit Systems Protection Board. What will happen to my case?

The MSPB is open and working. Because the entire agency is under mandatory telework, the MSPB court is not accepting paper filings by mail. All MSPB filings must be done electronically as of now. It is our recommendation that all deadlines applicable to your MSPB case must still be met.

I have a co-morbid medical condition that caused my doctor to restrict me from all in-person work during COVID-19. My employer says that I must attend work in person or use leave. Do I have a Short Term Disability benefits case?

Possibly. You should call us immediately if your situation matches the situation described in this Q & A.

My Maryland state employee disability retirement claim is currently pending a hearing before the Office of Administrative Hearings? When will it occur?

The OAH is currently closed and all hearings or proceedings are suspended until at least May 1. For more information from the OAH, visit their website.

Andalman & Flynn, P.C. serves clients throughout Maryland and the District of Columbia, offering compassionate, quality service and results-driven representation across a broad range of legal areas. With a concentration on disability benefits law and family law, the firm focuses on cases that impact the rights of everyone, and they are there for clients when responsive legal help is most critical. For more information about Andalman & Flynn, please visit our website or call 301.563.6685.


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