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In Case You Missed It: Chief Actuary for Social Security Administration Confirms that a Decision to Withhold Social Security Checks Would Be One Made by the Treasury

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Location: Washington, DC

Confirms decision to withhold checks would be a political one made by the President

During this morning's Budget Committee meeting, Stephen Goss, Chief Actuary for the Social Security Administration, was asked to explain how the Obama administration could withhold Social Security checks to American seniors. The question was prompted by a statement by President Obama that he could not guarantee that Social Security checks would be mailed August 3, 2011, if Congress fails to increase the debt limit.

Mr. Goss told the committee: "The responsibility of the Social Security Administration per se, my boss, Commissioner Astrue, is to in fact determine how much in the way of benefit payments people are supposed to receive. We send that information actually over to the Department of the Treasury. They are the ones who actually send out the payments, whether it's electronic funds, transfers, or check."

In response to the initial question during the hearing about how the checks would not go out, Mr. Goss stated that the decision to withhold checks is one left to the U.S. Treasury: "I wish I could give you a definitive answer to that. I think you would have to talk to people at Department of the Treasury, quite frankly…The exact mechanism by which that happens is very complicated, and it's Department of Treasury and Public Debt that would have to speak to that issue."


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