No, Obama, a shutdown won't stop Social Security checks from going out

During the last major shutdown, which lasted about a month starting in late 1995, the Social Security Administration mailed checks throughout the crisis, and a close reading of established law makes clear the agency has the legal authority to do so again.

“I am absolutely sure the checks would be sent out,” said John F. Cooney, a partner at law firm Venable who designed shutdown plans for the government while employed at the Office of Management and Budget.

Robert Reischauer, president of the Urban Institute and a trustee of the Social Security and Medicare trust funds, backed that view, saying claims that benefits won’t be paid are “not true.”

The legal case is pretty clear. In 1995, President Clinton’s lawyers in the Department of Justice laid out how federal agencies should operate if Congress failed to appropriate funds.