Is your Social Security check at risk?

Not really, but there is room for concern.

If the U.S. defaults, what happens to Social Security?

It’s possible your check could be delayed, although the length of the interruption would depend on how long it takes lawmakers to fix the fiscal situation.

Seniors and other recipients should monitor the negotiations over the debt limit, Johnson said. Recipients “need to be very careful about anything that is paid automatically based on their Social Security payment, because that may not get there in full or on time if the debt limit isn’t raised on time,” she added.

About 4 in 10 Social Security recipients rely on the program for 90% of their income. They’ll most likely need to turn to family members or other support if payment is delayed.

Altman noted, “The prospect of Social Security benefits not being paid is an outcome that should concern everyone.”

CBS News

What should really be the long term concern is why tens of millions of Americans reach retirement and must rely on Social Security for 90% of their income. And why they have no backup funds. No, in many cases it is not because they could never save.


  1. “…none of my children are so lucky and they struggle with health care costs, saving for retirement, etc. ”
    Why is this? Don’t you have all the answers how to live one’s life? You write like you are the example, but if your kids can’t follow, then it is not as easy as you make out to be.


    1. Never said it was easy or that people don’t struggle. Actually it would be easy except for the fact we humans are not logical or rational so many of the decisions we make come back to haunt us long term.

      Sometimes life throws a curve, but most often it is the decisions and choices we make and that applies from high school and beyond and that applies to all but the very poor.

      What does it take? Dedication, perseverance, a long term view, some frugality, prudence, deferring gratification, ignoring the Joneses. And sometimes it means working as much OT as possible or a second job or disappointing your children to avoid financial issues.

      Just about all those things are possible for everyone. When uncontrollable tragedy strikes one needs to be prepared as much as possible and if not they need and deserve help.

      Just look around and see how people spend money and then tell me that most can’t do better with their finances with some effort.

      The place where I am took from age 17 to 80 to reach, I retired at 67, not 57 or earlier.


  2. I’m confused. Why would Social Security checks be delayed? Aren’t there sufficient assets in the trust funds?

    I can see where there might be an issue with Medicare Part B and Part D, which are funded with general revenues. But, Social Security and Medicare Hospitalization Insurance are funded with payroll taxes (no they are NOT insurance contributions)!

    If someone is suggesting that the government will shut down the Social Security Administration, well, does that mean that they will stop accepting payroll taxes too? My guess is someone will be there to keep the lights on and keep the money coming in. Not sure why the same folks who watch the money come in electronically can’t watch the same dollars go right back out electronically.

    More lies from the beltway bandits.


  3. As a lifelong Democrat I say, sadly, that neither political party is concerned so much about the catastrophic results of default, as they care who gets the blame.
    Peoples lives are literally at stake.

    Also, as a logical deduction, if spending exceeds revenue, there are two ways to solve that problem, not one.

    I hope this link works…

    Look what happened after 2008!

    IMHO, TAX THE RICH! Depends entirely on how one defines rich.


  4. If the S/S checks don’t go out you better buy an umbrella. The turkey soup will hit the fan, and a whole bunch of idiots in DC will be unemployed!


      1. The law is the law, or is it?
        California, like many states, doesn’t always pass a budget on time. In the olden days, at the end of the fiscal year, with no budget, the state continued to make payroll and pay social services and other bills while waiting for the new budget. No hay problema.

        In 1992, Secretary of state interpreted the law to read that, without a budget, he was not authorized to pay anything. He quite obviously meant this to put political pressure on the opposition party to force bargaining pressure.

        Employees and other “paycheck to paycheck” folks lost cars and homes. Sacramento businesses, especially restaurants, folded.

        1. The state had cash reserves available.
        2. Somehow, without a budget, the state was not able to pay bills, but totally able to collect taxes and fees.
        3. But, by God, he made a point.


  5. I had to retire at age 62 due to financial the check I get is really not that much. I use that check to pay my rent..most of it anyway..and dont have much left.. they are saying it might be delayed? This is really scary..I dotn want to be evicted…I wish I could have saved but something always came up..and I never could..not even $20.. Those politicians always take their time in deciding our fate.. they dont have to worry about where the next meal is coming they? they need to do their jobs and fix this country.. its really sad that we have put freakin’ idiots in charge of our fate?


    1. Don’t doubt what you say, but do you mean that during your entire working life, you could never save anything for your retirement?


      1. I appreciate and enjoy your articles and comments, Richard, but I do believe you live in a dream world. I posted earlier today about contributing to a 457(k).
        After posting, I recalled that, much later, (I forget which year), I refinanced my house. I think it was adventatious. With the lower interest rates, I reduced the overall payback, reduced monthly payments, and took out $15,000 for a new roof, yeah for me.
        Unfortunately, in the inspection process, they discovered dry wood termite damage, and I had to pull $40,000 out of the 457(k) for extermination and repair. Followed a few years later by a special loan ($12,000) for new HVAC, which I was still paying for after retirement.
        And I consider myself the fortunate one in my family, financially.


      2. I admit my financial situation is not typical for a retiree or most Americans and I have lived a fortunate life these 80 years, but I have a lot of first hand experience with relatives and friends who have not been so fortunate and I don’t know how they have survived mentally or fiscally. Until the last five years before I retired, we were very average. We had one, two or three children in college at once for ten years in a row and remortgaged our house twice during those years.

        I worked for the same company for nearly 50 years and accumulated a pension, none of my children are so lucky and they struggle with health care costs, saving for retirement, etc.

        I don’t think I live in a dream world, but I am certain that for that vast majority of people their lifestyle and money choices are the root cause of any controllable issues they face in life.


  6. The debt ceiling means the government can’t borrow any more, not that they can’t pay current obligations. The chicken littles are out in force with the sky is falling stuff.


  7. …many cases…

    We always had food on the table, somehow. I don’t know how Dad did it. The older I get, the more I appreciate him. Mom had passed away years ago. Dad was still raising my three younger sisters. I was home on leave. He had just opened the mail, left it on the table while he was getting dinner ready. I said, Dad, what is this?
    It was a monthly payment due for a $200 “Christmas loan”. (1968, $200 was a lot of money.)

    Dad said, Christmas is important for kids.

    It was a friggin’ two year loan.

    How do you save when you are permanently in debt? And our family was typical.


    1. On the other hand…

      Our oldest daughter married and moved out. Our grocery bills went down about $100 A month (1985). When the second daughter married, I started a 457(k) plan with $200 a month, and eventually increased it when possible. That is now my IRA.

      And I was constantly in debt from age 21 until after I retired. So, technically, I guess it is possible to save …and… be in debt. But certainly not for everyone.


    2. Ellis (Bill) Edge Raise DEBT CEILING?, but with GOP garnishment attachments? To me it’s like this. A bunch of GOP&DEM guys go out to dinner. They RING UP a BIG TAB, and when the waiter brings them the BILL, the GOP guy says. “Well, we WILL PAY for it but ONLY if you lay off some busboys and kitchen crew and also cut your operating costs for the next time we visit”.


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