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Government shutdown, debt ceiling may impact Social Security Disability

The federal government administers many important benefits, including Social Security Disability. Social Security Disability Insurance, also known as SSD or SSDI, can help get you the money you need when you are unable to work due to disability.

As a federal benefit, Social Security Disability may be affected by the recent government shutdown. If you are receiving Social Security Disability, are in the application process or are considering filing for benefits, you may profit from an overview of how the current turmoil in the government could impact your claim.

Benefits continue during shutdown, but may cease if debt limit reached

Fortunately, those receiving Social Security Disability benefits will continue to receive their checks during the government shutdown. In addition, Social Security field offices will remain open, and hearing offices will remain open so that denials of SSDI benefits may be appealed before administrative law judges.

However, the services offered by field offices will be limited, and even though appeals hearings will continue, the processing of applications and appeal results may be delayed.

While the judges who hear appeals will continue to work during the shutdown, many members of the support staff who put the judges' decisions into effect will be absent. For instance, staff attorneys often write the administrative judges' decisions, and many of these attorneys have been furloughed.

Some experts fear that even a quick resolution of the impasse in Congress and a short government shutdown could create a bubble of work for Social Security employees when they eventually return, extending the waiting time for applicants even further in a system that is already plagued with delays.

On October 3, President Barack Obama warned of a possibly even worse problem. While the shutdown has some effect on the Social Security system, at least SSD recipients are still receiving their checks during the shutdown. However, if the federal government cannot get back on track in time to increase the government's borrowing authority by raising the debt ceiling later in October, the President said Social Security beneficiaries may stop receiving payments altogether.

Hedge against the uncertainties of Congress by getting help from an attorney

There is not much you can do about the ineffectualness of Congress. But, there is something you can do to ensure you receive the Social Security Disability benefits you deserve in as timely a fashion as possible. By retaining an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer, you give yourself the best chances of securing an approval early in the application and appeals process. If you are unable to work due to a disability, talk to a Social Security Disability attorney today to get more information on how legal help can benefit you.

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