Hundreds of thousands of Sacramento-area residents regularly use federal government services. Here’s how some of these services will be affected in the event of a shutdown.
Social Security: Social Security recipients will not experience a cut in payments, said spokesman Deogracias Santos. “Their benefits will continue,” he said. However, according to the Social Security website, field offices will offer limited services and will not be able to issue new or replacement Social Security cards, Medicare cards or proof of income statements.
U.S. District Courts: Courts will remain open using reserve funding for about 10 days. After that, officials will re-evaluate. A notice will be posted in advance of a court shutdown. The U.S. attorney’s office will continue to pursue criminal litigation but will seek to postpone or curtail civil litigation.
Veterans Affairs: Medical services to veterans will continue unimpaired, said Beverley Pierce, spokeswoman for Veterans Affairs’ Sacramento Valley Northern California Health Care System. All 10 regional medical clinics will remain open, including the main hospital at Mather, she said. Inpatient and outpatient services will be provided. “It will be business as usual for us,” she said.
Food stamps: H.D. Palmer, spokesman for the state Department of Finance, said the state has enough reserves to continue benefits for the state’s food stamp recipients and school lunch programs through October.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services: The Sacramento field office, as well as the regional office, which covers California and Nevada, will go on furlough, said spokesman Robert Moler. Because federal environmental consultation is required to evaluate the risk to endangered species before development projects can move ahead, those development projects will be put on hold, Moler said. Regional environmental refuges will close. A Sacramento public hearing on whether the agency should delist the gray wolf as an endangered species – scheduled for Wednesday morning – will be postponed if the government is still shut down, Moler said.
Meals on Wheels: Meals for older adults won’t be cut back immediately. But avoiding cuts in the number of seniors receiving meals depends on both efficient money management and donations to the program, said Donna Yee, chief executive officer for Sacramento’s Asian Community Center, which since 2011 has run the county’s Meals on Wheels program as a nonprofit agency. “All of these fits and starts in funding this year are driving us crazy,” said Yee.
Military Commissaries: The region’s three defense commissaries, like others in the United States, are expected to stay open today “to reduce the amount of perishables on hand before beginning a systematic closure process,” according to the Defense Commissary Agency. The commissaries provide discounted groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families. Brian Aipperspach, manager of the commissary at the former McClellan Air Force Base in North Highlands, said the store serves about 1,100 customers a day. The other two nearby commissaries are at Beale and Travis Air Force bases.
Bureau of Reclamation: The bureau's facilities – dams, canals, delivery systems and water operations – will remain open and staffed with the personnel necessary to operate them, bureau spokesman Pete Lucero said. Recreation services, such as government-operated visitor centers, campgrounds and picnic areas, will be most affected. Most employees will be placed on on-call status, he said.
Small Business Administration: The large majority of employees in field offices across the country, including those at SBA’s district office in Citrus Heights, will be furloughed, said SBA spokeswoman Kathleen Sheehy.
Sacramento Employment and Training Agency: SETA, which administers a host of local federally funded programs, including career centers, Head Start and youth and refugee services, will not be affected.
U.S. Post Office: Post offices nationwide will be open for business.
– Anita Creamer, Phillip Reese and Dale Kasler