The political dispute surrounding the nation's debt ceiling will likely have a ripple effect. It's not just going to affect government offices and workers. It won't be long until many others feel the sting, and those who rely on social security disability benefits or supplemental security income could be among them.
President Obama and congressional leaders have until Aug. 2 to decide what to do about the country's debt limit. If the ceiling of $14.3 trillion is not raised, programs will be cut and various payments will be missed.
According to ABC News, after looking at data from social security payments in August 2009 and August 2010, the government would probably not have enough money to pay the necessary $23 billion in social security payments to recipients in August 2011. And in general, the government would not be able to pay for 44 percent of what it needs to. That's according to an analysis by the Bipartisan Policy Center.
One official describes the potential scenario as chaotic and painful. Even if payments for social security, Medicaid, Medicare, interest payments on bonds, and payments to defense contractors were exempt, there would be nothing left in the government's budget, according to reports.
It's possible the Treasury Department could manage to avoid delaying checks for social security, but how likely that is is uncertain. And with the nation's budget in jeopardy, it could be sidetracked with lawsuits, layoffs and bad press.
In short, it's a scenario the country does not want to imagine and will hope to avoid.
Source: ABC News, "Debt limit delay would jeopardize social security payments," Richard Wolf, 3 July 2011
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