Government shutdown 2023: Effect on Brockton-area residents

In just a few days, millions of Americans could be impacted by a government shutdown.

USA TODAY reports that infighting among House Republicans has so far prevented Congress from passing spending bills. A deal must be reached this week to avoid an Oct. 1 shutdown.

If that shutdown occurs on Sunday, all federal agencies and services officials who aren’t considered essential would have to stop work and close their doors.

How will this impact the Brockton area?

While this would impact certain people personally, such as a potential loss of job or income, others could be affected in terms of the services they use.

Things like Social Security checks and Veterans Affairs benefits rely on the federal government. What about a Social Security card if you’re due to have a baby soon? What if you’re waiting for something important to come in the mail?

So, how will you be affected if the government shuts down? Here’s what we know.

Will I still get my Social Security check?

You will still receive Social Security payments if the government is closed. The Social Security Administration said in a public briefing that it will “cease activities not directly related to the accurate and timely payment of benefits or not critical to our direct-service operations.”

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Will Social Security offices remain open?

Field offices and call centers would remain open and accessible to the public during a potential shutdown, the agency said in its contingency plan briefing. But things like government food assistance benefits could be delayed.

Are Social Security cards issued?

No, according to U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, a Democrat from Michigan. “On a typical day, approximately 60,000 Americans apply for Social Security cards, which they may need to be able to start a job, take out a loan, open a bank account, or conduct other financial transactions. During a shutdown, no Social Security cards are issued,” Kildee’s office wrote on his website in a briefing on what a shutdown would mean for you.

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Will mail be delivered?

A United States Postal Service spokesperson said operations will not be interrupted if the government shuts down. Post offices will remain open and mail will be delivered. The agency is fully independent and self-funded.

Will I receive VA benefits?

There would be no impact on veterans health care, according to Denis McDonough, the U.S. secretary for veterans affairs. The VA would continue to process and deliver benefits to veterans, including compensation, pension, education and housing benefits; burials would continue at VA national cemeteries; the board will continue to process appeals, McDonough said.

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Is the National Weather Service operational?

All public National Weather Service activities are canceled during a shutdown, but forecasting operations remain in-tact. The closest National Weather Service office is in Norton.

Will federal parks remain open?

It’s not clear whether national parks and monuments will remain open during a shutdown as the National Park Service hasn’t released a shutdown contingency plan. While operations have typically halted, some parks remained open during past shutdowns, such as in 2018-19. There are no national parks in the immediate Brockton area.

Will federal courts remain open?

Federal courts such as the John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse in Boston would remain open for at least two weeks during a shutdown, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Operations would continue using court fee balances and other “no-year” funds.

How will traveling and passports be affected?

The White House warned in a Sept. 20 briefing that there could be “significant delays and longer wait times for travelers at airports across the country” during a shutdown. Air traffic controllers and Transportation Security Administration officers would have to work without pay, which led to more employees taking sick days during past shutdowns.

Passport operations could be affected during a shutdown as some facilities could be closed. Processing of passports will be dependent on the State Department having sufficient fees to cover operations.

Information from USA TODAY was used in this report.

Enterprise senior reporter Cody Shepard can be reached by email at cshepard@enterprisenews.com.


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