If you have read a newspaper, turned on the radio or TV, or checked your Twitter feed today, you know that the US government is currently shutdown. Each year, the House and the Senate are required to agree upon budgets to fund certain areas of government. This year, they were not able to agree upon the budget, causing a shutdown – you can read more on the specifics here. While it is unclear how long the shutdown will last, what is clear is that it will have a direct impact on the community of people living with disabilities.
Here are a 5 very big changes to note:
1. Veterans cannot make rehabilitation claims and will not receive disability claim decisions. The Veterans Benefits Administration will not be able to process any claims, including those for rehabilitation, and the Board of Veterans Appeals will stop issuing rulings, including decisions about disability claims.
2. NIH will not accept any new clinical trial participants. If you were planning on starting a clinical trial, hang tight. While current patients will continue to be treated, no new patients will be accepted.
3. No new funding for public housing. The Department of Housing and Urban Development will stop funding the country’s 3,300 public housing authorities. Most agencies believe they have enough cash on hand to continue to provide assistance through the end of October – but if the shutdown extends beyond that, there may be cause for concern.
4. No new hearings for disability claims. The Social Security Administration will not be able to schedule new hearings for disability claims, and there could be delays in processing recent disability claim applications
5. Veterans could stop receiving disability claims. If the shutdown lasts two to three weeks, the Department of Veterans Affairs said they may not have enough money to continue to mail disability claims. That means veterans may not receive their disability checks for the duration of the shutdown.
But not everything will shut down. Veterans hospitals will still stay open, and Social Security and Medicare benefits will continue. We will be sure to share more information with you as it becomes available.
For more detailed information about the government shutdown and how it may impact you, click here.