Government Shutdown Affects SSA Operations
Well, it’s official. Congress missed the budget deadline and the first government shutdown in the last 17 years has begun. Reports indicate that today some 800,000 federal workers were not allowed to show up for work. Many programs have ceased operations immediately, while others are working with skeleton crews.
Programs within the Social Security Administration are included, some of which are now working with limited staff to keep essential services operating, while others are shutting down until further notice. Two of the items on the “shutdown list” are Benefit Verifications, and Third Party Information Requests. It would appear that this already challenged service area will no longer be available to us, and we should not expect to receive responses from Social Security in the immediate future.
Keep in mind that obtaining a claimant’s current Social Security status, while nice to know, is not imperative for making the decision to complete an MSA. Whether or not an MSA is appropriate is based on the post settlement future medical scenario, and whether Medicare covered treatment and/or medications related to the settled body parts/conditions will be needed at a time when the claimant is a Medicare beneficiary. However, if you are planning to utilize the voluntary CMS review process, then knowing the claimant’s social security status is a necessary component for determining whether the case meets the current review threshold for claimants who may be within 30 months of Medicare entitlement.
There will no doubt be other hurdles and roadblocks to navigate as we see how things unfold over the next few days and weeks.