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October 1, 2013

Re: Federal Government Shutdown- Impact on New Jersey

Dear Mayor:

The shutdown of the Federal government begins today and the League will strive to update you as to how this will affect New Jersey municipalities. While some departments of the Federal government in New Jersey will not be operating for the duration of the shutdown, others will continue to operate, on a reduced scale.

National Parks will be shut down; however, there will be a skeleton staff on hand to patrol. Likewise, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will be furloughing roughly 40% of its staff and has suspended all civil cases where the United States is a party. The U.S. Attorney will continue to prosecute criminal cases.

Social Security and Medicare checks will continue to go out. However, individuals seeking to apply for these benefits may have difficulty doing so if the shutdown is protracted.

The Department of Education will continue to disburse money. However, if the shutdown is protracted, it is conceivable that the Department may run out of money.

Likewise, unemployment checks will still be going out but a protracted shutdown may cause disruptions.

Most services offered through the Department of Veterans Affairs will continue because lawmakers approve money one year in advance for the VA's health programs. Veterans are still able to visit hospitals for inpatient care, get mental health counseling at vet centers or get prescriptions filled at VA health clinics. Operators still staff the crisis hotline and claims workers still process payments to cover disability and pension benefits. But veterans appealing denial of disability benefits to the Board of Veterans Appeals will have to wait longer for a decision because the board will not issue any decisions during a shutdown.

Funding for Sandy relief should not be affected, in that those monies were already appropriated. However, the Federal agencies tasked with overseeing how the money is spent are affected. HUD’s Office of Disaster Management will be operating on a reduced scale.  The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, which oversees enforcement of labor standards related to CDBG projects, will be closed.

If you have any questions please contact the League’s Staff Attorney, Ed Purcell Esq. at (609) 695-3481 x 137 or

Very Truly Yours,

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director





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