TRENTON – Social Security offices in New Jersey and nationwide will resume in-person services Thursday for the first time since the pandemic began more than two years ago.

Unlike New Jersey unemployment offices, people will not need an appointment to visit a Social Security office. But like the state labor department, the Social Security Administration advises that online services and telephone remain the most convenient options.

“To avoid waiting in line, I strongly encourage people, who can, to use our online services at www.socialsecurity.gov, call us, and schedule appointments in advance rather than walking in without an appointment,” acting Social Security Commissioner Kilolo Kijakazi said in a statement.

“Customers who walk in without appointments may encounter delays and longer waits at our offices,” Kijakazi said. “Be aware that our offices tend to be the busiest first thing in the morning, early in the week, and during the early part of the month, so people may want to plan to visit at other times.”

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The SSA is continuing to require COVID-related safety measures such as masking, physical distancing and self-checks for virus symptoms. Kijakazi said that is because “many of the people we serve have health vulnerabilities, and consistent with our union agreements.”

The offices will provide masks to the public and employees who need them.

Kijakazi said the agency is transitioning to a new phone system and that, as a result, some callers may hear a busy signal or be unintentionally disconnected. He recommends calling when the national toll-free number – 1-800-772-1213 – is less busy: before 10 a.m., after 4 p.m. or later in a week or month.

People who are deaf or hard of hearing may call Social Security’s TTY number, 1-800-325-0778.

Social Security has offices in Bridgewater, Clifton, Egg Harbor Township, Hackensack, Hoboken, Jersey City, Mount Holly, Mount Laurel, New Brunswick, Newark, Newton, Neptune City, Parsippany, Toms River, Trenton and Union Township.

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