Government Shutdown’s Impact on Social Security

by Jim Adler

As the government shutdown begins on Oct. 1, 2013, many people wonder about its impact on them. That certainly includes millions of Americans who depend on Social Security and Medicare payments.

The good news is that such payments will continue to be issued, despite the government shutdown. The bad news is that such checks could be delayed due to having smaller workforces at the agencies which dispense them.

Since Medicare and Social Security benefits are considered entitlements, they are not held back during a federal government shutdown. Instead, they must be paid. They simply may not be paid as promptly.

A greater problem could face those who have not yet qualified for Social Security or Medicare. Due to insufficient staffs, new applications to receive such benefits may not be processed until the shutdown ends.

According to the Washington Post, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will lack sufficient workers to schedule new hearings for disability claims or assist recipients in replacing benefit cards

Such delays occurred in 1996 during the previous government shutdown. For instance, back then, over 10,000 applicants for Medicare were turned away each day.

But also in 1996, some SSA workers were allowed to keep working. That meant persons who were due existing benefits for Social Security retirement payments or Social Security disability payments could keep getting their checks.

Keep in mind that the current shutdown is a partial shutdown. Besides Social Security and Medicare, mail delivery also will continue.

Shutdown or no shutdown, Jim S. Adler & Associates stands ready to help Americans who need help claiming Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

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