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How does the government shutdown affect Social Security disability?

All week long we've heard it repeated in the media: it's a partial federal government shutdown, not a complete shutdown. Some offices remain open while others do not.

What about the Social Security Administration (SSA)?

After all, in Southeast Michigan and across the nation, many seniors rely on Social Security to make ends meet. There are also many people who receive Social Security disability insurance payments (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

The SSA will continue to make these payments. There is concern, however, that a prolonged shutdown will impact disabled people in other ways.

For example, an extended cutoff of funding from Congressional appropriations could substantially affect payments to Medicaid service providers. Those providers assist many people with developmental disabilities.

If the cash-flow crisis becomes unmanageable, some of those service providers could stop offering Medicaid services.

Another area where the cash crunch could become acute is housing assistance. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has already announced that it will not provide funding to housing agencies at the local level during the shutdown. More than half of those agencies provide assistance to people with disabilities.

In short, the effect of the government shutdown on people with disabling conditions is not inconsiderable. Payments will still go out. But local SSA offices may be limited in the services they can provide, and that in turn could slow the processing of new claims.

In other words, the ripple effects from a shutdown that lingers on could affect people with disabilities more and more, the longer the shutdown goes on.

Source: disabilityscoop, "What The Shutdown Means For Disability Services," Michelle Diament, October 1, 2013

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