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Checks Are In The Mail

August 12th

Thanks to the new debt ceiling agreement just signed by President Obama on Tuesday, beneficiaries of many government programs can rest easy in the confidence that their checks will all be in the mail shortly. Many people waiting on social security checks and tax refunds will be happy walking back from the mailbox this week.

Approximately 22 million Social Security payments are due to be made August 3, while another 27 million checks will be sent out later in the month. The Social Security Commissioner, Michael Astrue, has made confident statements to news sources such as CNN that there will be no delay in the distribution of August benefits. The government feels similarly confident regarding the distribution of other payments this month, including public works contracts and tax refunds.

Fears of Payment Delays Surrounded the Debt Ceiling Crisis

This will come as a great relief to many individuals. During the prolonged debate over how to solve the debt ceiling crisis, many feared that it would have a catastrophic affect on the distribution of payments. In fact, some media outlets spoke not only of delays in social security payments, but also in veteran’s payments, tax refunds checks; some even estimated that many taxpayers would not receive their payments before Christmas.

Despite assurances made by many politicians that their chief concern was for those Americans suffering most from the economic crisis, the worry held by many benefit recipients was that they would, in fact, be the ones to bear the brunt of the government’s paralysis. President Obama himself had expressed concern that the government might not have enough cash on hand to make all the payments if the debt ceiling deal failed to materialize.

However, thanks to the recent deal, made mere days before the deadline, the debt ceiling has been raised. The government has therefore been able to make all its payments as scheduled. The deal even includes a proposal that would grant tax relief for emergency responders. Under this proposal public safety employees, such as firefighters and paramedics, who retire below the age of 55, would be permitted to withdraw from their retirement accounts without any kind of tax penalty. Normally, early withdrawals from a retirement account are subject to an additional 10 percent tax.


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