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What Does the Government Shutdown Mean for My Social Security Disability Benefits?

When you hear about it in the news, the federal government shutdown that started in December 2018 can cause stress and confusion—especially when you need Social Security Disability benefits and can’t afford to have the program just shut down.

But we’re happy to report this government shutdown should have little impact on your disability application or benefits.

You should continue with your disability claim without any pause.

This is a “partial” shutdown, as you hear in the news, meaning parts of the government are still open, including the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Thankfully, the SSA was already approved for the funding it needs before the shutdown began. So it’s not one of the agencies closing, or seriously cutting back on services. Social Security has funding to keep operating until September 2019.

Still, at our firm, we’ll keep monitoring the shutdown every day on behalf of our clients.

If you have concerns or questions about the shutdown and Social Security Disability, contact us.

Which Social Security Disability Services Are Open During the Government Shutdown?

During the 2018-19 government shutdown, you should still be able to:

  • Apply for Social Security Disability benefits
  • Appeal a denial of benefits
  • Attend your hearing with a Social Security administrative law judge
  • Continue receiving benefits you’ve already been awarded

Past government shutdowns caused more disruption for Social Security Disability applicants.

In 2013, for example, people already receiving benefits continued to get their checks, but a shutdown delayed new applications. People could still attend their disability hearings when the hearings were previously scheduled, but the shutdown slowed decisions from hearings and the scheduling of new hearings.

So far, those aren’t problems with this shutdown. As the shutdown goes on, we’ll keep a close watch in case anything changes. For example, it could affect federal courts, which could cause delays for people who need to file disability appeals there.

Don’t let news of the shutdown cause you to hold off on applying for benefits that you need, or appealing a denial.

For help with your disability benefits, give us a call.

National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives
United States District Court of Northern and Western Districts
Martindale-Hubbell BV Distinguished
Broome County Bar Association
New York State Bar Association