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Congress, furloughs and a shutdown, oh my!

Prior to the government shutdown, the Social Security Administration announced that it was putting into effect a contingency plan that would create a buffer between the loss in federal funding and beneficiaries receiving SSD and SSI payments. But while the explanation given by SSA may be easily understood by lawmakers, it may not be as easily digestible for the rest of us across the nation.

So what does the shutdown mean for our readers here in Texas and what can they expect in the unknown amount of time between now and a resolution?

Here are the programs that will be most affected by the shutdown:

  • The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development,
  • The U.S. Department of Justice, particularly for disability rights enforcement,
  • and developmental disability surveillance programs

The postponing of programs offered by these agencies will mean that people with disabilities may not have access to necessary services such as housing assistance, help with civil litigation in relation to the Americans with Disabilities Act, and access to new disability research.

While some programs are being curtailed or postponed until a budget can be made, others have decided to furlough employees in order to save money. These are the programs that will likely encounter minimal problems:

  • Social Security programs such as SSD and SSI
  • Medicaid
  • and special education

It’s important to point out that while these programs will not be shutting down, they could be impacted if the shutdown goes on for an extended period of time. Many state programs say they have enough money to provide services in certain programs for at least the month of October, though some feel that the shutdown could stretch on longer, impacting hundreds of thousands of beneficiaries across the country.

With the uncertainty of whether the appeals process will be affected by the shutdown or not, denied claimants are encouraged to speak with a legal representative to determine what their next steps should be in the days and weeks to come.

Source: Disability Scoop, "What The Shutdown Means For Disability Services," Michelle Diament, Oct. 1, 2013

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