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Failure to raise debt ceiling could stop SSDI payments

The government shutdown is problem enough for many people who rely on Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) here in Ohio. With the Social Security Administration offices closed, anyone applying for SSDI or needing to speak with a SSA representative at an office is forced to wait until they reopen.

The same goes for anyone who has an application pending with SSA or has appealed a denial of his or her claim and is now waiting for a hearing on the issue or is waiting for an administrative law judge to make a decision. All waiting. Of course, the medical conditions that force people onto programs like SSDI do not wait.

While those people are forced to wait, their medical condition is not likely to improve or become less expensive to treat. In addition to their health being negatively impacted by delays, there is an even more troubling event on the horizon.

If the Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling by October 17, the payment of Social Security disability insurance benefits will stop, along with potentially all other payments by the SSA. The impact of this will be devastating for millions of Americans, including those who are not receiving retirement or disability payment from the SSA.

The impact on the U.S. economy would be devastating, as 57 million Americans receive benefits from the SSA, and a year's worth of economic output from SSA payments has been estimated at $1.2 trillion by the AARP.

And this would only be part of the economic impact, as the federal government would be unable to pay a significant portion of its bills. This could plunge the economy into another recession long before it has fully recovered from the last one.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Obama: Social Security Checks Will Stop When Debt Ceiling Is Reached," Arthur Delaney, October 3, 2013

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