October 8, 2013/Press Releases

Connecticut Seniors, Veterans & School Children Feeling the Impact of Republican Tea Party Shutdown

(Hartford, Connecticut) — At the start of Week 2 of the government shutdown, the GOP candidates for governor are still embracing the Republican Tea Party tactics and refusing to stand up to their colleagues in Washington. This comes despite Social Security services, Veterans Affairs payments and Head Start programs already being impacted in Connecticut. Over 600,000 Connecticut citizens receive Social Security and they will not be able to receive a replacement card or get through to call centers for assistance. The Veterans Affairs Department will run out of money by the end of October to pay benefits to disabled veterans, poor wartime veterans, survivors and students if the shutdown continues. Many veterans call centers, regional offices and business centers will be closed to over 200,000 Connecticut veterans as well.

More than 7,000 Connecticut children could be affected by Head Start funds disappearing, and on Friday the Associated Press reported, “The chairman and president of the Connecticut Head Start Association estimated Friday that about 1,200 low-income children in the Bridgeport area are not receiving services due to the partial federal government shutdown. David Morgan said layoff notices were sent to 313 staff at Action for Bridgeport Community Development Inc. after Congress failed to reach a budget agreement this week.” [Associated Press, 10/4/13]

What will it take for Toni Boucher, Mark Boughton, Tom Foley, Mark Lauretti and John McKinney to tell their Republican Tea Party colleagues in Washington to stop hurting Connecticut seniors, veterans and children?


Social Security services will be stalled. Although checks for current Social Security benefits would still go out during a shutdown, many Social Security services will be not be available such as obtaining a replacement Social Security card and preventing improper Social Security payments. As a result of furloughs and service cuts during the last shutdown, 800,000 callers were denied service on the Social Security Administration’s 800 number. In 2012, 640,252 people received Social Security benefits in Connecticut. [SSA History; SAA, 2012]

A shutdown endangers benefits owed to our nation’s veterans. The VA will run out of money to pay mandatory benefits for existing beneficiaries by the end of October. This would affect disabled veterans, poor wartime veterans, survivors, and students. Many veterans call centers, regional offices, and business centers will be closed to the public. During the 1995-96 shutdowns, more than 400,000 veterans saw their disability benefits and pension claims delayed, while educational benefits were delayed for 170,000 veterans. Connecticut is home to 207,759 veterans. [Army Times, 2/3/11; CNN, 1/4/96; VA; Army Times, 9/28/13; Washington Post, 9/27/13; VA, 2013]

A government shutdown compromises young children’s school readiness. A government shutdown could delay funding for 22 Head Start providers across the country, jeopardizing early childhood education and care for the 18,000 children and families those programs serve. Ongoing grants to these 22 organizations were scheduled to be renewed in October. During FY12, an estimated 1,600 Head Start agencies served over 950,000 children, including 7,357 children in Connecticut. [CAP, 4/11; HHS; CRS, 1/9/13]


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