Government Shutdown: What it Means for You


Photo courtesy of Bryan Mills

Here at Veitengruber Law, many of our close friends, family members and dear clients have been negatively affected by the Government Shutdown of 2013. The most amazing thing about the shutdown is just how far-reaching its effects truly are.

Naturally, if you’re a federal worker, you’ve most likely been furloughed for what may be a second time in as little as five months’ time. This group of employees is undeniably the hardest hit, given how much of their paychecks have already been withheld this year. Thankfully, The House of Representatives has voted to issue back pay to those workers who’ve been furloughed. That is, they’ll be paid, just as soon as the government reopens. When that will be is still a mystery.

In an effort to prevent the shutdown from causing  an internal collapse of important military systems like health care, family programs, training, commissaries, acquisitions, contract logistics and supply chain management, certain Department of Defense civilians have already been called back to work. Still, this leaves tens of thousands of government employees out of work and without a paycheck.

If we look slightly beyond those directly affected federal workers, it quickly becomes all too clear that the government shutdown has initiated a domino effect – and it’s already moving and gaining speed toward non-federal workers.

One group of Americans that has been told “not to worry” are those who receive Social Security benefits. Social Security payments will still be issued. Oh, but they may or may not be issued on time, due to the decreased number of processors working at the moment. Same goes for unemployment checks. Hopefully there are a lot of understanding landlords and mortgage companies; otherwise, that’s going to add up to a lot of late fees and potential evictions or foreclosures.

Small business owners are reporting a dramatic decline in their profit margins – especially those businesses that provide goods or services to the government or its employees. Applying for a federal loan to help them continue to pay their employees isn’t an option because there’s no one in the office to process new applications. Recently disabled Americans can also forget about sending in their Social Security Disability applications because they are currently not being accepted either.

If you’re currently furloughed and looking for some inexpensive ways to fill your suddenly free schedule, remember that all national parks, historic buildings, museums, monuments and zoos are currently closed because all of their workers are also sitting at home, just like you are. (Don’t worry – enough employees were retained to feed and care for the animals.)

You might be better off rummaging through your old junk and selling some of it on eBay. The postal system is still up and running, so it’s inevitable that bills will soon be arriving in your mailbox like clockwork. Gotta make ends meet somehow.

If you’ve got a tough creditor that simply won’t give you any slack while you’re furloughed, give my office a call. Veitengruber Law can take a look at your situation with you and tell you what your options are in this difficult time. There are things you can do – just make your move before the last domino falls down.

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