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Saturday, June 15, 2024

A look at how a shutdown would affect Americans

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You’d still get your mail – and your usual Social Security payment. But troops’ pay might be delayed, and you’d have to put off that spring break trip to a national park.

Here’s how government services would or wouldn’t be affected if there’s a partial shutdown Friday at midnight:

-Benefit payments: Social Security payments would continue, and applications would still be processed. Unemployment benefits would still go out. Medicare would still pay claims for recipients, but payments to doctors and hospitals could be delayed if the shutdown were prolonged.

-Mail: Deliveries as usual (U.S. postal operations are not subsidized by tax dollars).

-Recreation: National parks around the country would be gated. The National Zoo and Smithsonian in Washington, too. The White House says a shutdown would cancel the popular National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade in the nation’s capital this weekend, though organizers are still hoping to go ahead.

-Taxes and loans: The IRS would not process paper returns, but the filing deadline would remain April 18 – already delayed three days because of a local holiday in Washington. It’s unclear whether taxpayer help lines would be staffed. Tax audits would be suspended. The Federal Housing Administration, which guarantees about 30 percent of home mortgages, would stop that work. Action on government-backed loans to small businesses would be suspended.

-Air travel: Air traffic controllers will stay on the job. Federal inspectors who enforce safety rules, too.

-International travel: The State Department would continue to provide emergency consular services to U.S. citizens in need. But other services, such as issuing travel visas and passports, could be delayed or stop.

-Military and public protection: Pay for U.S. troops would be delayed, and some civilian Defense Department employees would be furloughed. Military operations in the Middle East and earthquake assistance to Japan would not be interrupted. All 116 federal prisons would remain open, and criminal litigation would proceed.

-Health care: Medical research at the National Institutes of Health would be disrupted, though patients would continue to receive care. The Centers for Disease Control would respond to an outbreak.

-Work safety: Inspectors would stop workplace inspections except in cases of imminent danger.

-Dining out: Any emergencies involving food contamination still would be dealt with.

Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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