What Happens to Social Security Benefits during a Government Shutdown?

Social Security LawWhile the government re-opened on January 23rd, 2018 following a brief shutdown that commenced on January 19th, 2018, the continuing budget resolution passed by Congress only funded the government through February 8th, 2018, at which time the nation may face another government shutdown.

Clients often ask, “What happens to my benefits during a government shutdown?”

First and foremost, your benefits under both SSI and SSDI programs will continue uninterrupted during a government shutdown. Same with survivor benefits, child benefits, and retirement benefits. A shutdown only affects funds annually appropriated by Congress, not funding that is sustained long-term. The Social Security trust fund is paid for through a combination of taxes and long-term investments, and thus not subject to the shutdown.

For the military and veterans, VA disability payments, survivor benefit plan (SBP) payments, and retiree payments would all be made because those funds also come from non-annual appropriations.

According to the 2017 contingency plan, Social Security Field Offices will continue processing applications and appeals during a government shutdown. Similarly, any hearings in front of administrative law judges will continue to take place as scheduled.

Other services provided by Social Security including social security card centers, benefit verifications, and status checks will not be available during a government shutdown.

The 2017 contingency plan provided by the social security only covered the first five days of a potential shut down. If a shutdown lasts longer than five days, it is possible more SSA employees would face furlough and there would be a greater impact on the services provided.