The Social Security Administration has issued a contingency plan in case there is a temporary government shutdown relating to the budget. You may wonder if a government shutdown will affect your Social Security Disability claim. A shutdown will not affect the outcome of your case and based on the contingency plan in place, all disability hearings should operate as usual.
Accordingly, the Office of Hearings Operations which handles and schedules your hearings will still employ decision writers, Administrative Law Judges, and support staff necessary to conduct hearings. They will also retain a limited number of SSA employees to continue operations. A SSA notice states that they anticipate allowing employees to conduct orderly wind-down activities. SSA will also encourage the DDS (Disability Determination Services) to continue limited services during a lapse. However, because DDS employees are State employees, they cannot direct the States to except or furlough their employees during a lapse. Each State will have to determine whether it can maintain limited DDS operations and pay its employees during a lapse.
Your claim may be affected slightly by the timeline of programs or services up to the hearing level, but based on this information, a disability hearing, decision, and determination should not be delayed, and benefits should still process accordingly.
If you are thinking about applying for benefits, we here at Gardberg and Kemmerly can assist you in getting a claim processed and filed. If you have a claim for disability and need assistance, please call our office at 251-343-1111 for a free consultation on your VA and/or SSA claim. Gardberg & Kemmerly specializes in helping the injured and disabled in Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and Louisiana.