Federal Funding in 2011: Could A Government Shutdown Affect Disability Benefits?
When temporary funding expires at midnight on March 4th, 2011, less than a month from today, what will it mean for people collecting benefits?
House Republican leaders intend to pass bills that will keep federal agencies running. However, these legislators are proposing between $30 billion and $100 billion in budget cuts. The Democrats in the Senate currently will not support cuts of this magnitude. If the proposed cuts can’t pass the Senate, then the government will begin to shut down due to the political stalemate – a situation that hasn’t happened since 1995.
“More than 400,000 veterans saw their disability benefits and pension claims delayed,” says Senator Patty Murray, D-Wash., of the last political shutdown. Senator Murray is the new Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee chairwoman. She spoke last week about the veterans she represents, and the concern they feel when they interpret the government as playing politics with decisions that will affect the lives of millions.
If no compromise is reached on federal funding by March 4th, 2011, only essential workers, federal law enforcement, and the Department of Defense will report for work on March 5th, 2011. Since disability and pension checks are mailed out at the beginning of the month, no payments would be affected if the government had to shut down on March 4th, 2011. However, a shutdown would mean that across the country, Veteran Affairs’ and veteran benefits offices would close. Claims processing will halt. Non-emergency medical appointments will be delayed.
While uncertainty looms for many veterans receiving federal benefits, there is also good news. Representative Michele Bachmann has decided to drop her plan to cut disability compensation for current recipients of Social Security disability payments. This proposed cut was one made by Bachmann in an attempt to eliminate $430 billion from the federal budget over the next five years. The overwhelming negative response to Rep. Bachmann’s suggestion led her to say “The problem of government spending must be solved, but not on the backs of our nation’s war heroes.”
House Speaker John Boehner has made it clear that he does not support a government shutdown. The Social Security Disability claims process would be largely and negatively affected by such a shutdown. In order to avoid costly delays, the government must come to an agreement on federal funding, and keep giving American veterans the benefits they deserve. If you are a veteran in search of disability benefits, please visit http://www.socialsecuritylaw.com/
A social security disability lawyer should be consulted for any further questions on how a possible governmental shutdown may affect benefits.
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Disability Group Inc was founded on the principles of dignity and respect. We are a national law firm focused exclusively on helping people receive the Social Security Disability benefits they deserve. Visit us at http://www.socialsecuritylaw.com