Lima federal field offices open during shutdown

By Josh Ellerbrock -

LIMA — Despite the federal government shutdown, federal field offices in Lima continued their work without any major disruptions Monday.

The Social Security field office in downtown Lima still shuffled its visitors through. The only change was a piece of paper on the front door explaining how some documentation services cannot be performed on site due to the shutdown and should be filed online. Social Security beneficiaries can still expect payments to arrive on time without delay.

Across the street at the post office, mail workers were still loading packages and envelopers into their easily-distinguishable white vans. The U.S. Post Office’s operating budget is not funded by federal tax dollars. Therefore, federal funding lapses don’t affect mail pickups or deliveries.

Nearby military recruiting offices still had recruiters sitting at their desks and helping those looking to join. Military operations continue throughout government shutdowns, but service members are not paid during that time.

The Allen County WIC Office on Cable Road was still open to the public. During the 2013 shutdown, many WIC programs and services across the country were threatened by a lack of funding, but it’s too early to know if there will be any changes this time around, WIC Director Melinda Hobler said.

Instead, the federal shutdown affected the roughly 800,000 federal employees who serve in what the federal government deemed “non-essential” services. Examples include those working in federal regulatory departments, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), research divisions, such as the National Science Foundation and permitting offices.

That does mean that those who have already filed their taxes may see their refunds slightly delayed, and those applying for veterans disability benefits or government documentation such as passports won’t be approved as quickly as normal since many federal employees performing these functions had been furloughed.

The primary problem of a federal government shutdown, however, is less obvious than closed offices. According to an estimate from Standard & Poor’s, the 16-day government shutdown in 2013 curbed GDP growth by 0.6 percent in the last quarter of 2013 and leaked $24 billion from the economy.

As for 2018’s shutdown, how it might hurt the overall growth of the economy remains to be seen as of Monday.

By Josh Ellerbrock

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

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