Government Shutdown 2023: Will Your Social Security Payments Stop Now That the Debt Ceiling Has Been Reached?

Stack of 100 dollar bills with US Treasury illustrative check to illustrate American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 payment with social security card for retirees.
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The U.S. reached its debt ceiling on Jan. 19 the Treasury Department announced on Thursday, Jan. 19. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says extraordinary measures have begun to mitigate financial repercussions. But will those measures include pausing Social Security payments?

See: As the US Hits Its Debt Ceiling Limit, Yellen Announces First Extraordinary Measures
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In the past, Congress has avoided this by raising the debt limit, but House Republicans say they will not support another increase unless they get spending cuts or other concessions, NPR reported. Defaulting on the debt would be a first in U.S. history, said The New York Times, and it would force officials to choose between continuing assistance (like Social Security) and paying interest on the nation’s debt.

However, a House Repulicans’ payment prioritization plan would call for the Biden administration to make only the most urgent federal payments if the debt limit is reached. The plan may also specify that the Treasury Department continue making payments on Social Security, Medicare and veterans benefits as well as military funding, according to two people aware of the internal discussions, as reported by The Washington Post.

“We agreed to advance a debt prioritization bill through regular order by the end of the first quarter of 2023,” Rep. Chip Roy (R-Tex.), a leading conservative who helped arrange the deal, said in a text message to The Post.

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The White House is relying on bipartisan support to bypass House Republican leadership and raise the debt limit. President Biden has said that he refuses to negotiate over the debt limit, The Times reported, and Congress must vote to raise the limit with no conditions.

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The last time the U.S. reached the debt ceiling was in 2011 and it took months for the economy to recover, per NPR. The Treasury found that waiting to raise the limit took a toll on the economy, affecting the market and even people’s retirement savings.

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About the Author

Josephine Nesbit is a freelance writer specializing in real estate and personal finance. She grew up in New England but is now based out of Ohio where she attended The Ohio State University and lives with her two toddlers and fiancé. Her work has appeared in print and online publications such as Fox Business and Scotsman Guide.
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