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Archive for Saturday, April 9, 2011

Goverment shutdown would affect some local services

April 9, 2011

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If severe weather blows into northeast Kansas this weekend as is forecast, the National Weather Service will still alert residents about the storms.

The office is one that will remain open in the event of a federal government shutdown because it provides services that affect the lives and safety of citizens.

How other local offices will be affected by the shutdown:

Haskell Indian Nations University

Nedra Darling, spokeswoman for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, said the university would remain open for seven days, operating on funding from bequests. After seven days, that money would run out, and the normal annual appropriation funding that comes from Congress would not be available. The university would then have to close.

For more information, visit doi.gov/shutdown.

Post Office

The post office will remain open as usual, according to a sign at the Vermont Street location.

Social Security

According to a letter released online by deputy commissioner Michael Gallagher, these Social Security activities will continue to operate: applications for benefits, requests for appeals, payee changes, nonreceipts and critical payments, post-entitlement actions, initial claims, reconsiderations, hearing and deciding cases, and IT support.

In the event of a shutdown, some activities would cease: original and replacement Social Security cards, benefit verifications, prisoner activities, replacement Medicare cards, earnings record corrections and updates, and multiple court activities. For the entire letter, visit ssa.gov.

Tax returns

According to an automated message at the Topeka Internal Revenue Service office, the location will close in the event of a government shutdown. The IRS will continue accepting online and paper filings, and those submitted online should not see delays in returns. Returns for taxes submitted by paper could see delays. The April 18 income tax deadline remains in effect.

Veterans’ benefits

According to a release from va.gov, Veterans Affairs medical facilities and clinics will remain open in event of a government shutdown.

Other services that will operate: military sexual trauma counseling; readjustment counseling services; crisis prevention lifeline; pension payments; disability and compensation payments; education benefit payments; and life insurance, insurance and home loan processing. Claims processing may be delayed, and regional offices will remain open but have limited availability.

Services that will cease to operate include call centers and hotlines, new compensation, pension, education and vocational rehabilitation benefits processing, and no decisions on claim appeals will be issued by the Board of Veterans Appeals.

To see additional services that will remain open or will close, visit va.gov.

Federal courts

According to a news release from the Office of Public Affairs at U.S. Courts, federal courts will be able to operate for 10 workdays after a possible government shutdown using nonappropriated fees. After the 10 days, a contingency plan would fall into place, and the courts would operate on a limited basis. For more information, visit uscourts.gov.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Sue Gehrt, operations project manager for Clinton Lake and Hillsdale Lake, said the corps would likely keep a small contingent of people working to deal with dam operations and safety.

Gehrt said the agency has been instructed that if a budget is not passed, corps parks will have to be shut down, including Overlook Park, the area below Clinton dam, Bloomington Park, Rockhaven Park and Woodridge Park. Anyone with a camping reservation at these sites will be given notice to vacate by 8 p.m. Sunday.

To cancel a reservation for a full refund, call 1-877-444-6777. Campers forced to leave the park before their reservation ends may request a partial refund.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Officials at the local USDA office declined to comment.

Comments

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