Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Government shutdown: What it means for you

Government services

  • Social Security: Social Security recipients would be largely unaffected by a shutdown, according to the administration official. Checks for seniors, those with disabilities, and survivors would go out as usual. But Social Security Administration employees could face furloughs, but the agency is still finalizing its plan.

  • Homeland Security: Critical functions, like border control, would continue.

  • Mail delivery: The U.S. Postal Service is owned by the government but self-funded - so operations would continue uninterrupted.

  • Air traffic control: As a function of maintaining public safety, Air traffic control would be exempt from a shutdown.

  • Food inspection: Meat and poultry testing would likely continue, in accordance with federal mandates that those activities deemed "essential to ensure continued public health or safety" continue.

  • National parks and monuments: As the New York Times puts it, "The National Zoo would close, but the lions and tigers would get fed." National parks and museums, including those on the National Mall, like the Smithsonian, would shut down - just in time for spring break.

  • Passport operations: All operations would be likely suspended, except for in cases of emergency.

  • International Revenue Services (IRS): The IRs would close, but the April tax deadline would stay in place - so Americans would still have to pay their taxes on time. But according to the senior administration official, the processing of paper tax returns (which accounts for about 30 percent of all returns) would be suspended - as would refunds associated with those returns.

  • The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA): The SBA, which is dedicated to supporting small businesses, would suspend approval of applications for business loan guarantees, as well as direct loans to small businesses.

  • The Federal Housing Association (FHA): The FHA would be forced to suspend approvals for new loan guarantees during peak home-buying season, according to the administration official.

  • Medicare: According to the administration official, Medicare is funded for the short-term - and would likely remain unaffected unless the government were to remain closed for a period of months or more. NIH, however, will not be able to accept new patients or begin new clinical trials.

The Military

  • Uniformed military personnel would continue to serve, but they would not get paid for their work until the government reopened. (Troops would get one week, not two weeks, pay in their next check, as the shutdown would go into effect in the middle of a pay cycle.) And a number of Pentagon civilians, State Department officials and USAID staff would likely be furloughed.

  • Veterans services will largely go uninterrupted, as the Veterans Administration receives its yearly appropriation in advance and thus has the money to fund services for the rest of the year.


Karen Greenberg said...

I don't know why, but every time I read an article explaining what a government shut down would mean, I am most sad about the parks and zoos. I don't travel much, but if I did it would most likely be to a State or Federal park. :-(

LifeBelowZero said...

at least all the animals will be fed and cared for until our politicians sort it all out