Posted on Sep 29, 2013

The Impact of the Potential Government Shutdown on SSA

Monday, September 30, 2013, is the end of the federal government's fiscal year. Congress has yet to pass a spending bill for the upcoming fiscal year that starts on October 1, 2013. The hang up with passing a spending bill revolves around the hot button topic, Obamacare. Politics aside, how would a government shutdown affect Social Security?  According to  USA Today, "entitlement programs" such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will be largely unaffected because they are automatically funded. However, other programs such as the Pentagon and the National Forest Service will be more impacted by the potential shutdown because these government programs require yearly congressional appropriations. According to AARP, Social Security payments will still go to the retired, disabled and other recipients. AARP then goes on to speculate that it is possible that the Social Security Administration could stop processing new applications, similar to the 1995-96 government shutdown.

SSA Deputy Commissioner Outlines Shutdown Plan

On Septemeber 25, 2013, SSA Deputy Commissioner Peter Spencer sent a letter to the Office of Management and Budget outlining SSA's shutdown plan. Deputy Commissioner reported that many of the SSA functions that are not attached to yearly congressional appropriations (e.g.Trust Fund Distributions)  will continue. Also, there are certain SSA operations that rely on congressional funding but there is a special exception that allows these operations to continue during a shutdown. This table outlines the SSA functions that will continue and cease during a government shutdown.

While it appears the SSA Field Office will remain open for filing disability applications and appeals, it is much more convenient to file this paperwork from the comfort of our office at Cuddigan Law. For a free evaluation of your claim, call us at 402-933-5405 or fill out our contact form on the website.

Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska