Social Security Disability Benefits Remained Available During Government Shutdown
Feb 11, 2019
Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) February 11, 2019 – Social Security Administration (SSA) services remained unaffected during a partial shutdown of the federal government that began on December 22, 2018. SSA benefits recipients continued receiving their disability checks during the shutdown.
The SSA was not impacted this time due to a full-year agreement that was reached in September. None of its employees were furloughed unlike during past shutdowns. The agency issued a contingency plan outlining how its essential programs would remain in operation even as some federal workers got furloughed and other programs stopped. “Funding for the programs under Titles II, XVI, and XVIII of the Social Security Act will continue, even in the event of a lapse in appropriations,” the plan said.
“Social Security disability recipients were reassured to know that the agency was open and running as usual,” said Florida social security disability attorney David W. Magann. “Millions of Americans worry about what a partial closure of the federal government could mean for their benefit checks. It would have been unfair for people to stop receiving the regular payments they rely on through no fault of their own.”
While the shutdown resulted in significant problems in some areas of the government, core services such as Medicare and Medicaid payments, as well as public safety operations were uninterrupted. Social Security checks were still going out to recipients. All three programs are considered mandatory spending and are not affected by the federal budget debate.
The Social Security trust fund is sustained via long-term investments and taxes rather than annual appropriations by Congress. Only funds appropriated by the latter will feel the impact of the shutdown. Veterans also continued to receive their disability and retirement checks in a timely manner along with survivor benefits payments.
About a quarter of the government including nine of 15 federal departments and some smaller agencies shut down on December 22. Congressional Democrats and the White House failed to reach an agreement to keep them open when their funding lapsed. The shutdown forced around 800,000 federal workers to go on furlough or work without pay.