For millions of retired and disabled Americans, their expected Social Security payment won’t happen unless a debt limit deal is reached soon, warned Treasury Security Janet Yellen. Payments could stop as soon as June 2.
It would be shocking to millions who depend on these timely payments — and Democrats say they’ll use it to their advantage to end the debt standoff with Republicans.
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“When they find out that they’re not getting that check, our phones will light up like a Christmas tree,” Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., predicted.
Kathleen Romig, director of Social Security and disability policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, warned that Social Security payments would probably be the first piece of federal spending impacted by a United States default.
Those scheduled to receive Social Security benefits on Friday, June 2 include those who began getting payments before May 1997 and who are 88 years old or more.
“The first people to have their benefits risked by this are the oldest and the poorest Social Security beneficiaries who are paid in week one,” Roming warned.
“That would be devastating for those people, because they rely on their benefits so much,” she told CNBC.
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Those scheduled to receive Supplemental Security Income next week, either as a supplement to Social Security benefits or exclusively through SSI, would also likely miss out on their payment.
Also impacted will be those who work for the federal government or the U.S. military, as well as recipients of food stamps, health insurance, and other federal benefits.
Next would be those scheduled for Social Security payments on the second, third, and then fourth Wednesday of the month.
Nothing is certain about missed Social Security payments being the first impacted, of course. Experts disagree on what exactly would happen immediately.
Although there have been debt ceiling fights before, none have actually resulted in a default on United States debt — making the situation unprecedented.
“There is not a road map for a default,” Romig said.
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“We’re all taking our best educated guesses based on what the laws say and what we know Treasury is capable of doing.”
The Horn editorial team