The Columbia Social Security office is closed because of the natural gas explosion on Sunday at the Lakeside Office Park building. Officials recommend visiting other offices or trying to access services by phone or online.
Sunday morning’s blast, which ripped apart much of the building, occurred in the 8800 block of Stanford Boulevard around 8 a.m., just 30 minutes after Howard County emergency responders evacuated the building. Social Security Administration employees have temporarily relocated to surrounding offices.
Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. is still investigating the cause of the explosion, which affected other businesses in the complex — an Indian grocery store, anxiety treatment center, nail salon, coffee shop, sushi restaurant and pizzeria. It was a Social Security Administration employee trying to catch up on some work over the weekend who reported smelling gas about two hours earlier, according to the owner of the building.
The explosion caused a widespread power outage and closed roads in the Stanford Boulevard and McGaw Road area, but nobody was injured, officials said.
Telephone appointments for Social Security have not been affected, and people will be contacted at the scheduled time. Those with office appointments will be contacted and given other options or offered services by phone.
Columbia residents have been referred to the following Social Security offices:
- Glen Burnie, 337 Hospital Dr., Suite 1A
- Annapolis, 185 Harry S. Truman Parkway, Suite 114
- Baltimore, 1531 S. Edgewood St., Suite S
Office hours continue to be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and 9 a.m. to noon Wednesdays. The offices will be closed Labor Day.
Officials remind residents that most Social Security services do not require an office visit. They can create an online account at socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. Business can be conducted online, including starting or changing direct deposit. If proof of benefits is needed, a benefit verification letter can be download from their account.
People not yet receiving benefits can receive a Social Security statement through the online site. It provides earnings information as well as estimates of future benefits. Maryland residents may request a replacement Social Security card online if certain requirements are met. There are also links to information about other online services, such as applications for retirement, disability and Medicare benefits.
If online is not an option, the administration said many of the services are available by dialing 1-800-772-1213. For those who are deaf or hard of hearing, call the TTY number at 1-800-325-0778.