Consumer Alert: Debt ceiling debate could have an impact on Social Security benefits

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. This Consumer Alert looks at you, our national debt and your Social Security check.

But if Congress and the White House don’t agree on raising the debt ceiling soon, the U.S. will get to the point of not having enough money to pay its debts or write your check. There are 65 million Americans who get Social Security and thanks to a law passed in 1996 your check keeps coming during a government shutdown.

But a shutdown is different from defaulting on our debt. Failure to raise or eliminate the debt ceiling means the U.S. could default on its debt as early as June. That’s the prediction of Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare warns that all government benefits could be delayed or you could get a partial payment.

All were holding their breath in anticipation of the president’s meeting with the top four congressional leaders Friday, but the meeting was postponed until next week. President Biden has already met with congressional leaders once this week. The meeting was described as tense and serious. But there are no signs the parties are any closer.

Republicans insist the country should not raise the debt ceiling without cutting the budget by 14 percent over the next decade. Democrats don’t want to cut spending at all and the two sides haven’t budged. Neither Democrats nor Republicans want a scenario where the country can’t pay its bills and you don’t get your check. Because of that, political analysts say it is very unlikely they’ll let this battle of wills end in default.