Debt Ceiling Debate Could Delay Social Security Disability Payments

Uncertainties regarding the debt ceiling have many Social Security recipients, including those who receive Social Security Disability benefits, biting their nails in worry. Unless the debt ceiling is raised to allow additional federal borrowing, more than 55 million Social Security recipients might not receive their checks because the Treasury Department would only have enough funding on hand to cover 60% of the country’s financial obligations.

Although the Treasury Department hasn’t confirmed that Social Security checks will be on the chopping block, CNN Money reports that President Obama stressed that “there are no easy outs” last week.

According to a CNN Money article, $61 billion are due to be paid to 55.4 million Social Security recipients between February 15 and March 15, with the average Social Security Disability recipient receiving about $1,111 per month.

If the Treasury Department is unable to make all of its 80 million payments next month, some lawmakers suggest that the Treasury prioritize payments, but that could result in massive administrative problems. Moreover, experts speculate that the Treasury would strive to make interest payments to bond investors in order to avoid defaulting on public debt. Other options include partial payments or delayed payments.

Social Security is a government program established by the Social Security Act that provides income to retirees, spouses, dependent children and survivors, as well as disabled persons.  Generally, if a person is under the age of 65, he or she must have a “disability” in order to receive social security benefits, which social security laws define as a physical or mental medical condition that prevents a person from engaging in “substantial gainful activity” and is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death.

There are two types of Social Security benefits available to disabled persons under the age of 65: (1) Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) and (2) Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSDI provides payments to disabled persons who have earned enough “credits” through the payment of social security taxes deducted from their paycheck.  There are no limitations on income or assets.

Conversely, SSI provides income to those disabled persons who have limited income and resources.  Income limitations vary by geographic location, but generally income includes money that you earn from employment, as well as Social Security benefits, pensions, alimony, child support, interest and room and board provided to you on a regular basis.

The Chicago social security lawyers at Ankin Law Office, LLC have considerable experience helping clients through the entire Social Security Disability applicable process. If you are a SSDI or SSI recipient, or would like to learn more about SSDI and SSI benefits, contact our office at (800) 442-6546 to schedule your free consultation with one of our knowledgeable Illinois social security disability attorneys.