By Brian Erickson, Director of Marketing
The current partial shutdown of the United States government has affected many government employees, offices and services, and for seniors and their advocates, this may cause concern regarding services seniors rely on. This partial shutdown is affecting nine departments; the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Housing and Urban Development. Although those departments technically are not funded, some workers will continue on the job as furloughed employees. They will provide law enforcement, air traffic control and other services the government deems essential.
Below are some government offices and services you may want to know that are or are not affected during the government shutdown:
- Social Security and Medicare: These agencies are funded and are not affected by the shutdown. Social Security payments to retirees, individuals with disabilities and other beneficiaries will continue, and Medicare beneficiaries will still be able to get health care services they need.
- Mail service: Mail will be delivered and will not be affected. The U.S. Postal Service is an independent organization and will remain open.
- Veterans benefits and services: The Veterans Administration is also funded, so VA hospitals, medical centers and clinics will stay fully operational. VA Aid & Attendance benefits will also continue.
- Taxes: The IRS will be affected by the shutdown due to a reduced, furloughed workforce and could slow the processing of any tax documents, including audits and returns, although it was just reported that they will be sending returns “on schedule”.
- Travel: Flights will not be affected. Air traffic controllers will remain on the job. As will the Transportation Security Administration’s airport security screeners.
- Passports: The State Department will continue to issue passports.
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): SNAP is currently funded through January as of this posting. It is recommended that recipients and advocates check regularly regarding availability should the partial shutdown continue past January 31, 2019.
- Food safety: For the safety of the citizens of the United States, the Food and Drug Administration will continue to handle high-risk food recalls. Routine meat, poultry and egg inspections will also continue because the U.S. Department of Agriculture considers them essential to safeguarding human life.
- Federal home loans: There could be a delay processing some FHA loans because furloughs at the IRS would reduce its capacity to verify information about borrowers.
Please continue to follow reputable news sources, local news and information from senior advocates for more information and updates on the partial government shutdown and how it is affecting services seniors rely on.