Will the Partial Government Shutdown Affect My Disability or Medicare Benefits?
The current “partial government shutdown” has many of our clients worried what this could mean for their Social Security Disability, SSI, Social Security Retirement, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits. The answer, fortunately, is “not that much.” A survey of recent media reporting on the topic leads us to believe that:
First, benefits payments from the three largest programs – Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare – won’t be interrupted by the partial shutdown. All three programs are considered mandatory spending and therefore are not affected. New applicants to the programs, however, may experience delays in processing.
How Will This Affect Veterans?
For military veterans, Veterans Affairs (VA) disability and retirement checks are also expected to continue being paid in a timely manner.
Also, the U.S. Postal Service is fully funded so the few remaining benefit checks that are sent via regular mail should not be delayed.
On the other hand, certain “nonessential employees” of the Social Security Administration are furloughed, so you can expect longer wait times than usual at local offices and longer hold times by telephone. Furthermore, the issuing of new Social Security cards is suspended.
If you have a pending disability claim that is scheduled for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, those proceedings should not be affected. No hearings are being postponed, and the hearing office personnel continue to work.