by G. Brown
Everybody likes a long weekend…unless it means no social security checks, no military protection or a mess of mail and government services. All of which is possible if the government continues with its threat of a shutdown this weekend.
WHY IS THIS HAPPENING: Congress has been stuck on budget issues with Republicans and Democrats at a disagreement over what money should be used for what departments, services and programs. One of the biggest sticking points is undocumented immigrants and if the two sides can’t move pass their impasse by close of business Friday, expect a partial shutdown from the government on Saturday.
Most might remember the last government shut down five years ago. That shut down lasted a little over two weeks and meant about 800,000 federal employees were sent home. The 1.3 million who had to keep working did so without knowing if they would be paid. The 16 day shut down was the third-longest shut down with the longest reaching three weeks back in ’95.
Here’s how another shutdown could affect you and your family…
- SOCIAL SECURITY: If you or your grandparents rely on Social Security, those checks should not see any interruption no matter if or how long a shut down. Social Security checks mailings are for the most part an automated process and should continue on regular schedule.
- MEDICAID/MEDICARE: You may have a longer wait time if you call in if fewer support workers like customer service are there to man the phones, but benefits should still be paid out.
- U.S. POSTAL SERVICE AND MAIL: A government shutdown shouldn’t really affect your mail delivery or postal needs. Even though it’s a government operation, U.S.P.S. manages its own revenue stream so you can expect no checks to get lost in the mail or return to sender notices.
- MILITARY, LAW ENFORCEMENT, TSA, BORDER PATROL: All the various agencies by protect everything from our streets to our country’s borders are considered essential to national security and they will continue to report to work as normal. Even though essential workers are expected to show up, their pay could be affected if there are no funds to pay them if a budget isn’t approved. Military employees are usually paid on the 1st and 15 of the month, so they just got paid four days ago and will wait another two weeks before they are paid. The same applies to veteran services.
Those are just a few of the top agencies and programs affecting the biggest segments of our population. Services like Amtrak, airports should be okay since they both rely on federal subsidies, but they also rely on money from ticket sales that should keep day-to-day operations functioning.
Of course, if a shut down happens, the longer it continues could see all of the services above affected. Congress could pass a short-term measure to keep the government running and buy them a little more time to hammer out a more permanent agreement.