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Saturday, October 5, 2013

How Does Shutdown Effect Social Security, Medicare and Other Senior Services?

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So what are the consequences to seniors?  That depends on how long Washington allows this is go on.  Here's what we know now: 
  • Social security checks and benefits will continue to be paid in full.  
  • Medicare and Medicaid benefits will also continue as usual.  
If you lose your social security, Medicare or Medicaid identification cards, you will have to wait to have those replaced. That may or may not result in a delay of services. They are also not currently issuing proof of income letters.  Click here to visit the Official Social Security website for additional details.
  • Vital services that ensure seniors and young children have access to healthy food and meals may not have sufficient federal funds to serve all beneficiaries.  
  • Call centers, hotlines and regional offices that help veterans understand their benefits are closed.
  • Every one of America's national parks and monuments, from Yosemite to the Smithsonian to the Statue of Liberty, are closed.  
The includes the WWII Memorial so those senior veterans coming in on Honor Flights or otherwise scheduled to visit are being denied access.    
  • Research into life-threatening diseases and other areas have stopped, and new patients will not be accepted into clinical trials at the National Institute of Health.  
This means that cancer patients and others with life-threatening diseases are now on hold.  

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There are also going to be a number of unexpected consequences. For example, health care professionals are reporting that they cannot hire anyone because the federal center that processes background checks is closed. Healthcare background checks help prevent unqualified and potentially dangerous people from working in the medical field. This will likely compromise quality of care and availability of services due to staffing issues if the shutdown persist.   

And did we mention the already 800,000 federal workers who are not allowed to report to work?  That effects everyone.  The longer this shutdown last, the more of a negative impact it will have on the economy.