For all the doomsday talk, for many Americans the looming shut down the government could be just that—talk. Closing the government would have minimal impact on their everyday lives.
But some segments of society will feel the pinch more quickly than others. It depends on which government services you use, reports Sam Hananel of the Associated Press.
The people experiencing the “far-reaching consequences” of a government shutdown the most would be visitors to national parks, zoos and Smithsonian museums. They would be turned away. The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in New York will close, as will Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Alcatraz Island near San Francisco and the Washington Monument.
Low-income and first-time borrowers could also see delays in government-backed mortgages, and no new loans will be approved or underwritten.
Most Department of Homeland Security employees will not be affected, but the 1.4 million active service members of the armed forces, though they will stay on duty, may encounter delays in paychecks. Civilian military workers will be furloughed.
The U.S. Mail — the service that touches most of our lives — will continue to be delivered, as will Social Security and Medicare benefits for seniors, but there may be delays in processing new disability applications. Unemployment checks will still be sent.
A one-year funding extension approved by Congress will keep the Veterans Administration open.
Air travel will also experience minimal impact in a shutdown. Air traffic controllers, airport screeners and federal inspectors will continue doing their jobs.
Federal courts will operate as usual for about 10 business days, until about mid-October. By then, non-essential employees could be furloughed. Cases will still be heard.
The State Department will continue processing passports and foreign applications for visas; the revenues from fees support those services. Consulates and embassies will remain open as usual.
Federal occupational safety and health inspectors most likely will stop workplace inspections except in circumstances of imminent danger.
Unfortunately, according to Hananel, Americans will still be required to pay their taxes and file federal returns, but the IRS will not be available for taxpayer service and toll-free help.