Social Security: What Would Happen to Your March Check if the Government Shuts Down?

With a potential government shutdown, will you get a March Social Security check? Here's what you need to know.

Katie Teague Writer II
Katie is a writer covering all things how-to at CNET, with a focus on Social Security and notable events. When she's not writing, she enjoys playing in golf scrambles, practicing yoga and spending time on the lake.
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Katie Teague
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Congress passed another short-term spending bill Thursday, averting a partial government shutdown and moving the deadline to reach an agreement on long-term funding to later this month. Congress now has until March 8 (for funding around 20% of the government) and March 22 (the remaining 80%) to approve budget bills. 

If a shutdown does happen and you receive Social Security or other government benefits, you may be wondering if you'll still get your March check in the event of the Social Security Administration and IRS closing down. 

We'll explain below what could happen to Social Security benefits if there's a partial government shutdown. For more, find out if you'll need to pay taxes on your Social Security money this year. Also, here's the status on tax refunds if the government shuts down.

Will I get my Social Security check if there's a government shutdown?

In 2023 while anticipating a shutdown, Chad M. Poist, the administration's deputy commissioner of budget, finance and management, set out the agency's contingency plan (PDF). While he anticipated the administration would furlough 53,000 of its 60,000 employees and cease activities not directly related to the payment of benefits, he said the agency would "continue activities critical to our direct-service operations and those needed to ensure accurate and timely payment of benefits." 

What does that mean to you? 

Social Security benefits come from a different funding source than the annual budget -- the dedicated payroll tax employers and employees pay -- and benefits are paid from these Social Security trust funds. If you're one of the nearly 72 million Americans who receive Social Security benefits or are enrolled in other programs (see below), you'll still get your monthly checks.

This includes Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance. Be aware that if you have any issues with your payments, it may be a while before you receive a response from the Social Security Administration.

See below for government benefits that could be affected by a shutdown.

piggy bank on a pile of coins

A shutdown shouldn't pause your Social Security payments.

Kmatta/Getty Images

Which other federal programs won't be affected by a government shutdown?

If you receive Medicaid or Medicare, you can also expect to receive those benefits on time. If you have any issues, you may have to wait a bit to hear back if there's a shutdown.

You could lose WIC and SNAP benefits

If you receive the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, or WIC, you could be at risk of losing assistance immediately if the government shuts down. 

If you're one of the 40 million Americans who receive the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, your benefits would still be available, but only for a limited time because the USDA can only send out benefits for 30 days after a shutdown begins.

To make sure your benefits arrive on time, here's the Social Security payment schedule, when SSDI checks go out and when you can expect your SSI payment to arrive.