An update on Unum Public Policy

Portions of the Federal government will shut down should policymakers in Washington, DC, fail to pass legislation to authorize spending by the end of this week (November 17). During past shutdowns, we’ve received questions about the impact on the employee benefits industry. Here are some common ones.

  • Will Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Benefits continue to be paid?

    Yes, SSDI awards are paid from a separate fund unaffected by a government shutdown.

  • Will new SSDI awards be processed?

    Yes, staff responsible for processing SSDI payments have been deemed essential by the Biden Administration and will continue to work, even if their paychecks might be interrupted.

  • The stock market has declined during past government shutdowns. Will losses impact Unum's ability to pay benefits?

    No, though we hope a market downturn associated with a government shutdown can be avoided, financial shocks like this are factored into our investment strategy and are manageable risks

  • Is Unum in contact with our elected representatives in Washington?

    Yes, Unum’s Government Affairs team is continually in contact with key lawmakers on matters impacting our industry, including a government shutdown. We encourage resolving differences through compromise.

  • What about Unum’s federal employee and federal contractor customers? If paychecks are delayed, will benefits policies lapse?

    No, typical policy language allows for a grace period when premiums are not paid before a policy is considered in lapse status. Federal workers and contractors can rest assured that Unum will be very accommodating if premiums are delayed due to a shutdown.

  • How long will the shutdown last?

    We are hopeful this will be a brief disruption. Previous shutdowns lasted just a few days. In 2018, we experienced the most prolonged government shutdown, 34 days.

Please reach out to your Unum representative with any additional questions.