All sorts of government programs, from the National Parks to National Monuments, to military bases, are closing due to the government shutdown. As the government begins to close its doors for various services and projects, many disabled individuals are left wondering if they will continue to receive their Social Security disability checks, and for those still waiting for benefits they are left wondering what will happen to their case.
The good news for those individuals already receiving benefits is that their benefits will continue to be paid without interruption.
For those who are in the application process, or just beginning the application process, local Social Security offices will continue to accept new applications for benefits and appeal requests. The State Disability Determination Services offices, which are run by each individual state, are expected to continue processing and investigating intial claims and requests for reconsideration, however it will be up to each state to determine to what extent they can continue providing services during a shutdown.
Hearings that were already scheduled at the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (“ODAR”) will be held. However, the ODAR office will discontinue activities related to scheduling hearings, reviewing cases for On-The-Record decisions, working up cases for hearing (including exhibiting the files for hearing), and decision writing for previously held hearings. This may cause a delay in decisions being issued on pending cases, and will delay the scheduling of hearings.
Therefore, if you currently receive benefits, you will continue to be paid. If you have applied for benefits and are awaiting a decision at the initial application or reconsideration levels, it is expected that your claim will continue to be processed during this time. If you have a hearing scheduled, that hearing is expected to take place and claimant’s should appear at the hearing as instructed in the Hearing Notice. If a claimant is waiting for a hearing to be scheduled, there will be some delay in the scheduling of the hearing due to a government shutdown.
Any claimant who received a denial notice and seeks to appeal that denial so be sure to file those appeals within the time frames noted in the denial letter. The appeals process continues at this time and failing to file an appeal may result in the loss of the right to appeal the claim at a later date.