Senior Living


Health & Spirit

Social Security and You: Shutdown Silliness

Tom Margenau on

As I am writing this, the government is in the middle of another of its silly shutdown soap operas. But my hunch is that by the time you read this, the shutdown will be over. The news seems to indicate that Congress will pass a temporary funding measure that will last until about Feb. 8, when we may very well go through this all over again.

I'm not even going to begin to comment on the politics of this shutdown mess. I'll let the pundits and bloggers handle that.

I'm also not going to write too much about what most seniors are interested in during these shutdowns -- the issuance of Social Security checks. I'm sure everyone has heard that the payment of Social Security (and Medicare) benefits are mandatory government services paid for through trust funds that are NOT part of the discretionary budget process affected by these shenanigans.

But I am going to share some of my own personal experiences with past government shutdowns and discuss the administrative nightmares and concurrent costly bureaucratic maneuvering involved in shutting down a federal government agency.

But first, let me point out what Social Security services might be affected when the government is in shutdown mode. The following information comes from the Social Security Administration website:

Due to the Federal Government Shutdown, Social Security field offices are open with limited services. Hearings offices remain open to conduct hearings before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Social Security card centers are closed.


Social Security and Supplemental Security Income payments to beneficiaries will continue with no change in payment dates.

Due to a lapse in funding, we will only provide the following services at local Social Security field offices:

1. Help you apply for benefits

2. Assist you in requesting an appeal


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