A recent conversation between President Trump, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Senator Chuck Schumer in the Oval Office of the White House has made it clear that America may be facing another government shutdown to start 2019.
Dating back to 2015, President Trump has been campaigning to build a concrete border wall along the southern border of the United States. President Trump now claims that he will be “proud” to shut down the government for the sake of border security.
The dispute poised to shut the government down has arisen from a disagreement as to how much money should be allocated to strengthening security along the southern border. A bipartisan bill has offered to give President Trump $1.375 billion for border security to build and improve border fences. However, Trump wants $5 billion to erect the long-talked-about concrete wall, and has threatened a government shutdown if he does not receive the money.
What does this mean for Americans?
If a government shutdown does occur at the beginning of 2019, it will not be like government shutdowns in the past. This shutdown would only be a partial shutdown, because a budget has already been passed for 75% of 2019 fiscal funding, including the: Department of Defense, Department of Labor, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Education, etc. These programs have approved funding through September of 2019.
If an agreement is not reached by December 21st, 25% of federal entities would be impacted resulting in 400,000 federal employees working without pay and 350,000 employees furloughed until the government begins operating again. All 750,000 of the previously mentioned employees would be issued retroactive pay once the government becomes operational again. Even in the midst of a partial shutdown, all essential services (those services necessary for health and safety) will continue.
What does this mean for Social Security Disability?
Social Security Disability (SSD) payments will not be impacted even if a partial shutdown does occur. First, the Department of Health and Human Services—the entity that issues SSD payments—has already had its funding approved for 2019, and thus will not be impacted by a shutdown. Further, the funds for SSD come from the SSD Insurance Trust and are not impacted by the appropriations of congressional funds. Therefore, the money for SSD will not be impacted, and the federal employees will be present to distribute the checks to the proper recipients even in the event of a shutdown.
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