The U.S. federal government went into partial shutdown today. Only essential employees remain on staff. This means government service cuts and employee furloughs in Richmond.
Patricia Raymond, regional communications director for the Social Security Administration (SSA) based in Richmond wrote in an email that Social Security field offices are to remain open with limited services. New or replacement Social Security cards will not be issued, nor will replacement Medicare cards. However, hearing offices will remain open, and “Social Security and Supplemental Security Income payments to beneficiaries will continue with no change in payment dates.” An unspecified number of the 1,259 SSA employees in Richmond will be furloughed.
“Services will be curtailed,” said Rep. George Miller. Because of liability, “federal employees do not have the authority to go to work.” Many newborn babies and pregnant woman in Richmond will not be able to get access to Women Infants and Children (WIC) vouchers for food. 3,298 veterans in Richmond may stop receiving their pensions or disability benefits in the next couple of weeks.
The visitor’s center at Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historic Park will be also be closed for the duration of the shutdown, said the park’s general superintendent Tom Leatherman. Thirty-four Parks Service employees from Richmond and Contra Costa will be furloughed until the shutdown is over. When this happened in 1995, said Leatherman, “employees were furloughed and then got paid retroactively, but that is contingent on the decisions that Congress makes.”