Good News for Social Security Disability Claimants – At Least, For Now

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For the past several weeks, millions of Americans receiving social security disability benefits have waited to find out if the government will come to an agreement about federal funding for the remainder of the fiscal year by the deadline of March 4th; if no agreement was reached, the government would have been forced to shut down for the first time since 1995, and critical SSA services would have halted across the country.

Breaking news from Washington, DC, means that Social Security Disability claimants, advocates and advocacy firms can breathe a temporary sigh of relief. The New York Times reports that for the past several weeks, millions of Americans receiving social security disability benefits have waited to find out if the government will come to an agreement about federal funding for the remainder of the fiscal year by the deadline of March 4th. If no agreement was reached, the government would have been forced to shut down for the first time since 1995, and critical SSA services would have halted across the country according to the New York Times.

On Tuesday, Carl Hulse of the New York Times reported that a bipartisan vote of 335 to 91 in the Republican-led House passed a two-week budget measure cutting $4 billion from government funds; Hulse writes that Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid promised an affirmation of the passage of this measure within 2 days. When Senate Democrats vote to pass the measure, the government will be granted an additional two weeks to figure out how to allocate federal spending for the rest of FY 2011.

Hulse also reports that neither Democrats nor Republicans wanted to accept the blame for a government shutdown, and that this was the primary reason for the swift passage of the measure in the House.

The new deadline for a compromise on the federal budget is March 18th, and this time, Senator Reid wants to hear more from the Obama Administration, writes Shira Toeplitz of Politico. “I think they should be involved more,” Senator Reid said, “and I think they will be.”

The possibility of a government shutdown still waits beyond March 18th, and such a shutdown would directly impact Social Security Disability claimants, according to Disability Group Inc., one of the nation’s leading Social Security Disability law firms. DGI also comments that SSA office closures would result in the exponential growth of case backlog, further delaying benefits to veterans and the disabled and adding months to the timeframe for a hearing.

Reid is eager to work across party lines to save programs that are vital to the middle and lower classes, writes Gregory Korte of USA Today. Reid elaborated by saying “I’m hopeful that we can work something out with the Republicans to get this done.” With a two-week grace period, can Congress save the SSA and other federal offices from furloughs and closures? Both parties are still prepared to fight, and March 18 will decide the victor.

Disability Group Inc (http://www.socialsecuritylaw.com) was founded on the principles of dignity and respect. We are a national law firm focused exclusively on helping people receive the Social Security Disability benefits they deserve.

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Gilda Mehraban
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