How to contact SS hearing offices
By Lizna Odhwani
I want to share an update regarding ways to contact our hearing offices during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. On Tuesday, March 17, 2020, we suspended face-to-face service to the public in our hearings offices nationwide. While our hearing offices are closed to the public for in-person services, our staff is still available to answer your questions via our local hearing office general inquiries lines during regular business hours. Those numbers are available here www.ssa.gov/appeals/ho_locator.html.
We are committed to providing several electronic options for doing business with us when possible and reducing paper mail and faxes in our hearing offices. Examples of how you can send information electronically and efficiently to our offices include the following:
- Fax and e-Fax: Claimants and Representatives can use a physical fax machine or their own e-fax solution to send documents. Sending documents to us via fax now delivers a secure, electronic copy to the specific hearing office’s designated email inbox. To submit documents electronically via fax, use the toll-free fax number with area code “833” assigned to the servicing hearing office. For a specific hearing office’s designated fax number, visit www.ssa.gov/appeals/ho_locator.html
- Appointed Representative Services (ARS)/Electronic Records Express (ERE) – Registered representatives with a recognized notice of appointment in a case should continue to use the “Upload New File” function available when viewing a claimant’s electronic folder in ARS to upload documents. This process does not require a barcode. Alternatively, representatives can also submit documents with a barcode using the “Send Individual Response” function in ARS and ERE. Registered representatives should use these methods to submit any documents to us electronically, whenever possible.
- “Contact OHO” email – Representatives registered through ARS can use the “Contact OHO Office” function to send a one-way communication to a designated email box for the servicing hearing office.
You can see additional information about the “Contact OHO Office” tool at https://www.ssa.gov/ar.
We strongly recommend appointed representatives submit fee petitions electronically during this time. Appointed representatives who have ARS access can submit the fee petition via the Contact OHO Office feature in ARS. For representatives who do not have ARS access and those who were previously terminated/ended their services prior to the case being closed out, please fax the fee petition to the hearing office’s 833 fax line.
As a reminder, for an appointment of representative to be valid the claim(s) file must contain a completed and properly signed notice of appointment, which can be on form SSA-1696, Claimant’s Appointment of Representative, or another written document that meets the requirements of 20 CFR 404.1707 and 416.1507. Form SSA-1696 is accessible on the Social Security website at https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-1696.pdf.
We have more information available on the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) internet page. Please visit and subscribe to keep up to date during the COVID-19 crisis.
I encourage you to share this information with your members, colleagues, affiliates, and other interested parties.
Lizna Odhwani is a public affairs specialist for the Social Security Administration. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.