People line up outside of the Social Security Administration office in San Francisco, California.

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The Social Security Administration is closing all of its local offices to the public starting on Tuesday due to coronavirus.

“This decision protects the population we serve – older Americans and people with underlying medical conditions – and our employees during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,” the Social Security Administration said in a statement.

Local offices will still be available by phone with a priority on critical services, the agency said. That includes benefit payments for those who did not receive their checks or need them reinstated; cases with severe blindness, disability or terminal illness; and eligibility decisions needed for urgent Medicaid approval.

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Other in-person services, such as benefit verifications or getting a new or replacement Social Security card, may be delayed until the offices reopen.

The agency did not specify when it anticipates offices will reopen.

Online services through the Social Security website will also continue to be available.

The website should be the first place to turn to if you need to apply for benefits, check the status of your application or an appeal, or order a new Social Security card, the agency said.

You can also reach the agency by phone at 1-800-772-1213, though telephone representatives will also be putting a priority on critical issues. Those include non-receipt of payment, changes of address or direct deposit, beneficiaries with severe disabilities or illnesses, and eligibility decisions needed for Medicaid approval.

If you have an in-person office meeting or hearing scheduled, it will likely be rescheduled as a phone meeting. Remember, any calls you receive from Social Security will come from a private number and will never demand money.