Even under ideal circumstances, applying for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits can be tough. After all, you must complete a considerable amount of paperwork, visit at least one doctor and then go through a six-month waiting period before your benefits begin. With the global pandemic, however, circumstances are far from ideal.

If you cannot work due to an injury or illness, you are apt to face a variety of emotions. You must not, however, let your fear or anxiety influence your critical-thinking skills. A new Office of Inspector General advisory warns both SSDI recipients and applicants about a new scam. To ensure you do not lose money or otherwise harm yourself, you should understand how to identify a con.

The Social Security Administration is not suspending payments

To protect both employees and the general public, the SSA has closed field offices. As such, you cannot visit your local office for any reason. Nonetheless, the SSA has not suspended payments. Unfortunately, though, some unscrupulous individuals have sent letters to SSDI recipients informing them of a disruption in benefits. If you receive one of these letters, you should not respond to it.

You do not have to pay to receive benefits

Con artists often use calamities for personal financial gain. You must remember, however, that the SSA does not ask applicants or beneficiaries to send money to the agency or anywhere else. If someone requests payment to continue processing your application or increase your benefits, you are likely dealing with a scam.

Extra scrutiny is a good idea

Your disability benefits are critical to you. Still, if you receive a seemingly official correspondence from the SSA, you should be skeptical of its authenticity. Confirming the letter with the SSA is a good idea. You may also want to have an attorney review the communication to be certain someone is not swindling you.

If you are in the middle of the SSDI application process, you cannot afford to lose any money. The same is true if you already receive benefits. By watching for possible pandemic-related scams, you can protect yourself until your benefits arrive.