Some Springfield seniors said they’re worried about their Social Security benefits should the government shut down this week, but a local professor says the affect in the Miami Valley won’t be great if it’s short.
A shutdown could occur if lawmakers can’t reach an agreement this week on funding the government at least in the short term. The last federal government shutdown was in 2013.
Retired Springfield resident Sam Myers hopes the shutdown won’t happen. He relies on a pension from a former employer, as well as Social Security, and is concerned about how it could affect that.
“It would make things a little rougher for a while (if Social Security were affected),” he said. “I’m sure I will be good for a while. Hopefully that doesn’t happen. Hopefully they can work something out.”
He said he uses his government benefits for groceries and to pay bills.
“I know a lot of people it would probably hurt because they are just on Social Security,” Myers said.
But Cedarville University History and Law Professor Mark Clauson says that agency won’t be affected and is protected at this time.
In a sense, the government would shut down and it wouldn’t, Clauson said.
“Government employees continue to get paid but they don’t have to go to work,” he said. “Essential employees will go to work, non-essential employees might not get called in to work.”
It could affect some federal employers in the area like Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, one of the biggest employers in the region and state.
“Certainly someone in national defense, the military, would be an essential employee,” Clauson said.
Along with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, many of them would be at work no matter what. Employees like administrative assistants will still be paid but likely not reporting to work.
“The ones who are non-essential are the ones who do more routine work that doesn’t require them to be out there doing something specific that would bring safety or protection or some service to somebody else,” Clauson said.
Each federal department is left to decide what it’s going to do, he said. For example, in 2013, the park service shut down all national parks and monuments.
Traveling shouldn’t be affected because the Transportation Security Agency is considered essential, he said, but traveling for the first time out of the country might be harder.
“Passports could be affected if … the agency head deems he will not employ some of his people,” Clauson said.
The public might not notice a shutdown at first, Clauson said, but would eventually if it lasts longer than a few weeks.