Does the Government Shutdown Affect Social Security?

Posted by Elliot Marks

Everyone is concerned with the looming possibility of another government shut-down as we have just come out of the longest shut-down in history. For those that rely on social security for monthly checks to pay for things like bills, day to day life, and even sustenance, or receive disability benefits, the potential for another government shut-down is real and can be very scary.

What is a Partial Government Shutdown?

It is helpful to first take a look at what a partial government shut-down is and what it means. When the government shuts down partially, it does not mean that all government offices are shut down, it simply means that non-essential government offices are going to be shut down for a time. Now anyone that works for the government does not think their job is non-essential but the government does have some offices that are not essential to the daily running of the country.

Government Shutdown

Some offices that are considered to be non-essential are those that are associated with tourism, the military, national guard, TSA at air ports, and basically any office that is not essential to the daily function of the country or that is not related directly to people getting their benefits. Someone that relies on a social security check each month to live need not worry about their checks being delayed in the event of a partial shut-down.

Most government shut-downs are only ever going to be a partial shut-down, as a full shut down would be a disaster. A full shut-down would mean police, fire fighters, the congress, the house of representatives, emergency services, parole offices, social security offices, local governments and more, would all be shut down, and the country would not be able to function in this state.

Will My Social Security Be Affected by the Shutdown?

For the most part, local social security offices are going to continue working on their regular schedules during any partial government shutdown. The funds that are used for social security have been approved prior and have been allocated for the use of social security checks and benefits. As such, a shutdown is not going to affect this money that has already been set aside and specifically marked for social security benefits.

There are some potential affects however when a shutdown is happening. In some cases, offices can get crowded as some people will be trying to determine if they are eligible for any type of benefit during a shut-down. If you do have a social security benefit that you draw you should take the time to set up an online account to help facilitate faster service and to help make sure you are going to get your check on time and that you can get the benefits you need.

In What Case May My Social Security Benefits Be Affected?

There are very few events in which your social security benefits would be affected by any type of shutdown. One threat that may affect your benefits would be if the workers are furloughed at the office that sends your checks. Most employees will continue to work even if they are furloughed and just get a back check after the fact, if those workers do not come to work however, it may affect the speed at which checks are processed and sent out.

In most cases, the Social Security Administration has contingency plans in place to help keep offices open and to keep checks and benefits being processed and sent out on time. The federal government knows that millions of people depend on these checks each month to sustain their lives and for the most part, these benefits are going to be protected and are going to keep being sent out as they should be.

For those that have a social security benefit, if you believe there is a potential for your benefits to be disrupted, you can always call your local office to find out more.

Elliot Marks

Elliot Marks

Author & Social Security Advisor

Elliot Marks has spent over 10 years providing clear and concise information to help Americans navigate the complex nuances of social security and many other government services in the United States. Elliot has a passion for helping those in need of these services to be able to find timely access to news and information that is relevant and helpful to their daily lives.