Residents React To Government Shutdown

By: 
Judy Kramer
County Reporter
Military retiree pay and survivor benefit pay is made at the end of the month. For most military personnel the government shutdown shouldn’t affect that pay date, unless they are part of the Coast Guard that falls under Homeland Security instead of the Department of Defense. Coast Guard retirees will not receive their monthly annuity at the end of January if the shutdown continues. But fortunately, one Benton County Coast Guard retiree has planned for such an event ahead of time and will pull through it if it happens.
“I will be able to get by if Coast Guard pay does not come on the first,” said Senior Chief Botswain’s mate (BMCS) (ret.) Barry White. “But, I will be watchful after that and will not feel comfortable making any travel plans or long-range summer planning. I served 30 years in the Coast Guard, in places like Alaska, New England and the Gulf Coast, and retired eight years ago. I know that government shutdowns can happen, so I have a plan B to get me through this one.”
BMCS White said that he keeps up with guys he worked with in the military and has heard that some are having a really hard time working without pay. It is terrifying. However, he said that communities are reaching out to some of them helping with food, and payments that are due.
“The American Legion is working with Coast Guard Mutual Assistance to provide immediate financial support through the Legion’s Temporary Financial Assistance (TFA) program,” said BMCS White. “And, corporations like USAA have donated to the Mutual Assistance Fund.  Rules are being changed so more loans can be given out at this time.”
A survey around the local area revealed that, overall, the government shutdown has not had a serious effect on most people and businesses. However, Department of Agriculture workers have been furloughed meaning that the USDA Service Center in Clinton is closed, as is the Farm Service Agency and Rural Development Area and local offices. IRS offices are closed, but all tax filings and refunds can be handled by going to www.irs.gov and following procedures listed there. Anyone who has scheduled an appointment with an IRS agent needs to reschedule that appointment once the shutdown is over.
Although the U.S. Post Office is part of the U.S. Government, it is self-funded and all local post offices are open for business. 
According to www.aljazeera.com, those persons receiving food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) should continue receiving assistance through February, but if the shutdown continues, that assistance may be disrupted in March.
USAToday.com reported that any small business owner who was banking on quick assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration will be out of luck. The SBA will remain inactive until further notice.
Bank officers at Equity and Hawthorn Banks in Warsaw reported that they have not had any customers ask for extra time making loan payments due to complications related to the government shutdown.  Josh Sater, of Equity Bank, said that if the shutdown continues there may be customers who will find it hard to make their payments, but that the bank would help them deal with their situation. Chuck Allcorn, from Hawthorn Bank, spoke about auto workers who put money from their paychecks into a strike fund each month.  That way, they have a source of emergency funding in case of an auto workers’ strike. Allcorn said that one way to be prepared for an emergency would be to have a credit card or line of credit just for backup. 
Kaiser Health News reports that Medicare will continue to provide insurance coverage for patients and will continue to process reimbursement payments to providers. But, those checks could be delayed if the shutdown is prolonged.
 

Category: