Government shutdown does NOT stop disability paymentsIts not unusual for the average American to feel very little impact from the government shutdown. In fact, a friend of mine told me he talked to a woman at work who didnt even know the government was shutdown. But for millions of other Americans the impact will be more than just an inconvenience, especially if the shutdown is prolonged.
What about you? How worried are you about the current situation? If you are receiving a federal benefit payment you may have some real concerns that your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments will be delayed or stopped?
SSDI and SSI not affected by government shutdown
The good news is that most Americans who rely on federal benefit payments will be unaffected. CNN reports that fifty-seven percent of all federal spending is mandatory spending on programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and benefits for retired federal employees. And mandatory spending is not affected by a partial government shutdown. So if you are one of the millions of SSDI or SSI recipients you will not have to rely on Congress passing a specific spending bill to keep the flow of money coming to you.
How many disability recipients are receiving payments?
The number of SSI, SSA retirement, and SSDI recipients is at an all time high. In fact, there are nearly 57 million Americans getting Social Security payments and nearly 51 million are covered by Medicare.
What does this mean for the SSA Administration? Most of their workers are considered mandatory. In fact, the SSA notes that 94 percent of its 44,000 front-line operations workers who handle benefits questions will remain on the job to continue to process disability benefit payments and ensure the flow of payments is not interrupted for disabled workers and their families.
Veterans back log at risk during government shutdown
Another issue of real concerns to many disabled veterans is the processing of their disability claims. Although disabled veterans who currently receive VA disability benefits will continue to receive their disability benefits, the VA does acknowledge that the processing of the massive backlog in veterans disability benefits is at risk.
The VA has stated that they have enough funding to remain open and processing applications for the next few weeks, but if the government shutdown continues past this time frame the claims processing and payments in these programs would be suspended when available funding is exhausted.
Debt ceiling not government shutdown could cause real disaster
What is more concerning than the government shutdown, according to Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, is the looming debt ceiling. If the debt ceiling is reached and Congress cannot come to an agreement, the government would be unable to borrow and would be forced to use the cash it has from day to day tax receipts and money on hand to repay beneficiaries and creditors (including those receiving Medicare and Social Security). If this happens big decisions will have to be made. According to experts, dealing with the payments for important and popular programs (e.g., Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Defense, and military active duty pay) will quickly become impossible.