Some VERIFY readers have asked if they will still receive Social Security checks in the event of a government shutdown. Here’s what we found.
Some federal government agencies and programs rely on annual funding appropriations approved by Congress. Shutdown occurs when Congress fails to pass funding legislation, this prevents the government from spending the money needed to stay afloat.
If Congress enacts some, but not all, of the 12 annual appropriations bills, this is called a partial government shutdown.
With a government shutdown looming, some VERIFY readers have asked whether a government shutdown will stop or delay their Social Security payments.
Will a government shutdown stop or delay Social Security payments?
No, a government shutdown will not stop or delay Social Security payments.
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WHAT WE FOUND
Our sources say Social Security recipients, including those receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, will still receive checks in case of government shutdown.
Social Security benefits are among those that will continue to be paid during the government shutdown because they are “authorized by Congress without annual approval.” according to David Wesselsenior fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institution.
Funding entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare falls into a category known as “mandatory spending” rather than “discretionary” spending. according to the US Treasury Department. Mandatory spending programs continue to operate during the government shutdown, The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) explains.
Under CRFB, mandatory spending has been authorized for multiple years or in perpetuity, while discretionary spending must be allocated annually. The Treasury Department said the Social Security Act requires the government to provide payments to beneficiaries of the program.
Social security is primarily funded through a dedicated fund personal income tax and any additional income generated by the tax will be passed on Trusts The Social Security Administration (SSA) explains: reserved for future Social Security payments. These funds are not expected to be depleted until 2033.
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While Social Security is still making on-time benefit payments, the government shutdown could cause problems for other aspects of the program.
“We know from previous government shutdowns that the federal government will be able to send out benefit payments,” said Shai Akabas, executive director of economic policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center. Social Security, even if it is partially closed.” “What is impacted in Social Security is the ability for new beneficiaries to apply for benefits because some of the employees who would be processing that will be furloughed during that period and not working.”
That means the program may not be able to issue any new Social Security cards and verify applicants’ eligibility for benefits, according to CRFB.
Other programs and services were also affected by the shutdown. Wessel explained that many federal employees were told not to go to work, even though a 2019 law guaranteed they would be paid back before the shutdown ended.
According to Wessel, government employees providing essential services, such as air traffic control and law enforcement, continue to work without pay until Congress acts to end the shutdown.
The shutdown could also lead to delays in processing passport applications, small business loans or government grants, fewer food safety inspections, and fewer food safety inspections, he said. Visitor centers and bathrooms at national parks are closed.
In December 2018, a dispute over border wall funding led to the most recent partial government shutdown that lasted 35 days.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.