(WHNT) – Do you need to visit a local Social Security office, but are having trouble making an appointment? You can walk into an office once again, but there are a few catches and recommendations.

In-person service resumed on April 7, according to the Social Security Administration website. Due to an influx of traffic, appointments are still strongly encouraged for those who need in-person service without an appointment.

Appointment or not, here are guidelines for visiting a Social Security office in person:

  • Visitors will be required to complete a self-assessment checklist to make sure it’s safe for them to enter the office; answering YES to any questions will bar a visitor from entry regardless of their vaccination status
  • Masks are required for all visitors, employees, and guards; masks will be provided to those who don’t have one
  • Hand sanitizer is available throughout each local office
  • Plan for the weather – visitors may need to wait outside due to limited office space inside offices
  • Come alone unless you need help; one adult is permitted in that case

For those without an appointment, SSA officials said to expect long lines, especially during the busiest times in local offices; typically Mondays, the morning after a federal holiday, and the first week of the month.

For those who are thinking about appealing a decision, there are options to have your hearing heard sooner, such as an online or telephone conference. More information is available on the SSA hearing options webpage. In-person hearings are resuming, and the SSA said as capacity grows, offices will move toward a more normal scheduling process.

Some offices may continue appointment-only service or fully close due to construction, inability to allow people to wait outside, or other reasons. An updated list can be found here. As of Sunday, no offices were reported closed in either Alabama or Tennessee.

For online assistance, visit the Social Security website. For those unable to use the website, representatives can be reached at (800) 772-1213 from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday, along with several automated services available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. SSA is working to modernize the system, so there may be longer wait times, busy signals, or unintentional disconnects during the upgrade.

For those calling, SSA suggested the best time to call is early in the day (8-10 a.m. local time) or in the late afternoon (4-7 p.m.), as well as Wednesday-Friday or later in the month.

Here are offices across North Alabama, their addresses, and telephone numbers:

  • Albertville – 406 Martling Road, (800) 521-0073
  • Cullman – 1908 Commerce Ave NW, (877) 803-6323
  • Decatur – 717 McGlathery Lane SE, (888) 289-9185
  • Florence – 203 South Walnut St, (855) 884-3407
  • Huntsville – 4970 Research Park Dr, (866) 593-0665

All Social Security offices are open from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday.