Topline The Tea Party-fueled government shutdown is already negatively impacting Connecticut’s low-income and middle-class families, and has the potential to hurt our economy far into the future.
Small Businesses: A shutdown could delay financial support for Connecticut’s small businesses. In fiscal year 2012, the Small Business Administration’s loan programs approved 53,847 applications and supported 571,383 jobs. A shutdown would put a stop to this critical source of small business credit.
Military and Veterans: During the shutdown 12,828 service members in Connecticut will remain on duty, but will see their pay delayed if the shutdown extends for more than 10 days. Military members, veterans, retirees and their families are on pace to redeem more than $100 million in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits this year and many service members, especially the most junior, are already living paycheck to paycheck.
New veterans’ compensation and pension benefits could be delayed. During the 1995-96 shutdown, more than 400,000 veterans saw their disability benefits and pension claims delayed, while educational benefits were delayed for 170,000 veterans. Connecticut has 207,759 veterans.
Federal Workers: During the shutdown, nearly half of the Defense Department’s civilian workforce will be sent home without pay, while the rest will continue to work for delayed pay –impacting the 2,621 civilian workers in Connecticut. Nine thousand non-defense employees in Connecticut will also be out of work.
Social Security: Although checks for current Social Security benefits would still go out during a shutdown, applications for new benefits would be delayed and services for seniors could be significantly curtailed. As a result of furloughs and service cuts during the last shutdown, 112,000 claims for Social Security and disability benefits were stalled, 212,000 applications for Social Security cards were stalled, and 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.
Education: A government shutdown has forced Head Start centers around the country to close. According to the president of the Connecticut Head Start Association, 1,200 low-income children in Bridgeport will not be served, with additional closings expected if the shutdown continues.