Social Security Prepares For Possible Government Shutdown

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WASHINGTON D.C – Officials with the Social Security Administration will hold talks in the coming week to discuss what to do in case of a potential “government shutdown” on March 4.

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Lawmakers have been unable to reach a bipartisan agreement on how to fund the government for the remaining fiscal year of 2011. Democrats and Republicans continue to disagree on budget cuts, and without a compromise, many government agencies will be forced to close their doors.

Washington Post reports:

Planning ahead for a potential shutdown is prudent, considering the chaos that ensued during shutdowns in 1995 and 1996. During the first shutdown, about 4,800 agency employees stayed on the job to ensure beneficiaries continued receiving checks, according to a Congressional Research Service report.

The spending measure passed by the House early Saturday would reduce SSA’s budget by about $625 million compared to last year, meaning the agency may need to furlough workers up to 10 days, Skwierczynski said. If necessary, the union is hoping furloughed workers could take their forced unpaid leave all at once in order to apply for unemployment benefits, he said.

A shutdown would have effects on the distribution of many other federal benefits as well including welfare checks, veteran payments, and unemployment.

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