As most people have heard, the federal government shut down this week after members of Congress failed to reach an agreement on a spending plan for the next fiscal year. The result of the shutdown is that the government is now providing “essential” services only.
While federal loans will be on hold and national parks will be closed during the shutdown, Social Security Disability beneficiaries will continue to receive their monthly checks. Local Social Security offices will also remain open, but they will only be performing certain services.
Most Medicaid services will also continue despite the government shutdown. However, advocates for the disabled have pointed out that the shutdown could result in some providers of long-term services and support stop providing Medicaid services because of further delays in payment.
Millions of disabled Americans depend on SSD benefits and Medicaid coverage to make ends meet and get the medical treatment they need. Luckily, these important government functions will remain mostly intact despite the government shutdown.
At this point, it is unclear how long the shutdown will last. The main issue that is holding up lawmakers has to do with the Affordable Care Act. Republicans in the House of Representatives insist that the new spending plan defund the healthcare reform bill in some way. House Democrats insisted that the Affordable Care Act remains as is.
The last time the federal government shutdown was in late 1995 and it lasted for 21 days. The shutdown could potentially have a negative effect on the economy, depending on how long it lasts, experts say. It is possible that lawmakers could reach an agreement by the end of the week, and in that case, the effects would likely be minimal.
Source: Disability Scoop, “What The Shutdown Means For Disability Services,” Michelle Diament, Oct. 1, 2013; CNN.com, “Government shutdown: Get up to speed in 20 questions,” Holly Yan, Oct. 1, 2013