Unfortunately, House Republicans have refused to pass a budget to keep the federal government operating. They did this because they were not able to repeal or delay provisions of the Affordable Care Act that protect Americans from insurance company abuses and provide health insurance for millions.
As a result, the federal government has closed, except for essential services.
This page will provide you with background and some basic facts about what services will and will not be affected in a federal government shutdown. My staff is also available to assist you so please call on us at 925-602-1880.
The Social Security Administration will continue to distribute Social Security benefits to seniors and people with disabilities. However, a lapse in funding could result in delays in processing new claims and Social Security cards, change of address requests, and other customer service requests.
Medicare claims are paid from Medicare trust funds, and will continue to be processed during a shutdown. However, the lapse in funding will stop the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services from processing new Medicare enrollees.
Q. Will veterans currently receiving a payment from VA continue to receive them? Will they be delayed?
A. Yes, veterans receiving a compensation, pension, education and vocational rehabilitation payment from VA will continue to receive them. VA has not indicated that there will be a delay in payments. However, in the event of a prolonged shutdown, payments in these programs may be suspended when available funding is exhausted. VA is estimating that this may occur in late October.
Q. Will veteran claims continue to be processed during the government shutdown?
A. Yes, claims processing will continue, but there may be some additional delay because VA will not be able to continue overtime for claims processors. Also, VA has indicated that, in the event of a prolonged shutdown, claims processing may be suspended when available funding is exhausted. VA is estimating that this may occur in late October.
Q. Will veterans continue to be able to receive medical care at VA facilities during the government shutdown?
A. Yes, veterans will be able to receive medical care at VA facilities. Because the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) receives advanced appropriations all medical facilities and clinics will remain fully operational. This includes: inpatient and outpatient care, prescriptions, surgeries, dental treatment, extended care, mental health care, nursing home care, and special health care services for women veterans.
Federal unemployment benefits will continue to be dispersed to the California Employment Development Department (EDD). Unemployed workers will continue to receive benefits, and people who have exhausted their current benefit tier will progress to the next tier. For more information, please contact the EDD at http://www.edd.ca.gov/
United States Postal Service
U.S. Postal Service will continue to operate during a government shutdown, because the Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations. All retail offices will remain open and delivery will not be affected. The Postal Service will continue to accept passport applications, although there may be a delay in processing them from the State Department. For more information about the Postal Service, you may want to visit http://www.usps.com/
The House and Senate passed a bill that would pay members of the Armed Forces, including reserve components, in the event of a government shutdown. Civilian employees and contractors may also receive pay if they are deemed by the Secretary to be providing support to members of the Armed Forces.
Federal Employees and Retirees
Under a government shutdown all non-essential federal employees are placed on unpaid leave, also known as a furlough. However, essential employees that perform emergency work involving the safety of human life, the protection of property, or other exempted work, must continue to report to their job. Essential employees will not be paid unless Congress appropriates money for back pay after government funding is restored.
Each federal agency will determine which employees will be furloughed, and which must continue to report to work. Furloughs are expected to impact the services that agencies provide to the public. For more details please visit the Office of Personnel Management’s website at http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/furlough-guidance/
Federal retirees who receive benefits through the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) or the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) will continue to get their checks. However, the Office of Personnel Management will stop processing paperwork for new retirees.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program (TANF) is funded through September 30, 2013. With a lapse in federal funding, TANF recipients could see a disruption in benefits. However, states may be able to use state funds, emergency contingency funds, or leftover TANF funding from previous years to help continue TANF benefits during a shutdown. The State of California will be issuing further guidance for TANF recipients in the state. For more information visit, please visit http://www.cdss.ca.gov/calworks/
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the Women, Infants and Children Nutrition Program
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) receives mandatory funding from the U.S. Department of Treasury on a quarterly basis. Therefore, beneficiaries will continue to receive SNAP funds as usual.
Federal funding for the Women, Infant and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program will stop on October 1, 2013. However, Acting WIC Director Lisa Kawano “anticipates that there will be no interruptions to the CA WIC program in the near future.” . State WIC programs, including California, can use vendor fines and infant formula rebate accounts, as well as NSA spend-forward, unspent food and federal contingency funds, to keep the program operating for at least a week or even two weeks, by which time a new CR is very likely to pass.
Passports and Visas
The Postal Service will continue accept passport applications, and the State Department will continue to process passport applications visa requests as long as funding allows. This could result in delayed processing times and create a backlog that lasts even after funding is restored.
Museums and Parks
All areas of the National Park Service and National Wildlife Refuge Systems will be closed to the public. This includes federal lands in California, Washington, DC, and across the country. Additionally, the Smithsonian Institution and National Gallery of Art will be closed to the public. The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts will remain open for scheduled performances, but may suspend tours of the building.
If you have tours scheduled through my office in Washington, DC, please contact my Tour Coordinator, Irving Burbano, at (202) 225-2095 for more information.