Will the Government Shutdown Affect My Social Security Checks?
With the government shutdown beginning today, October 1st, many of those who are receiving Social Security disability benefits are wondering if they will still be receiving their monthly checks. Have no fear; the government will continue to send out all Social Security checks, including retirement checks. However, the government shutdown has a major impact upon the services that are being provided by the local Social Security offices and also the hearing offices. Several Social Security employees are being furloughed…meaning they are on temporary unpaid leave.
Your local office will only be providing the following services:
1. Help you apply for benefits
2. Assist you in requesting an appeal
3. Change your address or direct deposit information
4. Accept reports of death
5. Verify or change your citizenship status
6. Replace a lost or missing Social Security payment
7. Issue a critical payment
8. Change a representative payee
9. Process a change in your living arrangement or income (SSI recipients only)
Social Security’s online services will remain open.
Hearing offices will be providing even less services. All hearings that were previously scheduled are expected to be conducted. Things the hearing offices will not be providing include no new hearings will be scheduled, claims will not be prepared or developed, and the Appeals Council will not be reviewing any cases.
With just the basic services being provided at the local offices and hearing level the government shutdown is going to have a major impact upon the wait periods for cases to be decided upon. The wait time for a case to be reviewed at the initial and reconsideration level is already a couple of months. With the shutdown we can expect to see even longer delays before decisions are being made. This is a HUGE problem for those individuals who suffer from severe limiting conditions and are unable to work. How are they supposed to pay for basic necessities like a home, medications or food? If you fall into this category and cannot wait until the republicans and democrats come to an agreement, then I encourage you to contact the Florida Department of Children and Families.
How long do you think the government shutdown will last?
Elizabeth Gormley, Esq. is LaBovick Law Group's lead Social Security disability and Veterans Affairs attorney. Ms. Gormley is well-versed in SSD law and reviewing medical records. She is a VA accredited attorney.