Information on Government Shutdown’s Impact on Services
As the partial government shutdown looks to extend into this weekend, NAMI has put together the following overview of services that impact people with mental illness and whether these services are impacted by the shutdown.
What’s still running
Roughly 75% of the government has already been funded for 2019, so many services are continuing without interruption.
Social Security (including SSI/SSDI disability)
- People receiving Social Security or SSI/SSDI payments will continue to receive their benefits. These programs are funded and are not be affected by the partial shutdown.
Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP health coverage
- People covered by Medicare, Medicaid or CHIP programs will not see their coverage change as a result of the partial shutdown.
Health insurance from Marketplace
- People who purchased health insurance plans from federal or state marketplaces (and who may receive federal subsidies to lower the cost or cost-sharing) will not see their coverage or subsidies change as a result of the partial shutdown.
Veterans hospitals and benefits
- The Department of Veterans Affairs has already secured its funding, so veterans’ hospitals will maintain their routine operations.
- Veterans who receive disability pay and GI Bill benefits should not have their benefits affected by the shutdown, according to Military.com.
- SAMHSA and other HHS programs are funded and not affected by the partial shutdown. Some people receive mental health services through SAMHSA programs, such as the community block grant program, children’s mental health programs, the suicide prevention lifeline, and PATH supportive services for people experiencing homelessness.
Suspended programs/agencies that may affect people with mental health conditions
Every agency has its own contingency plan set up during this shutdown. If the shutdown continues, people may see their services or benefits stop until the shutdown ends and budgets are restored.
- People are able to get SNAP (food stamp) and WIC benefits, as well as subsidized school lunches and breakfasts, as of 1/1, but these programs could run out of money (possibly by March). USDA updates are available here.
The federal judiciary
- Federal courts are continuing to operate at this time, but they may run out of funding by mid-January. It is unclear how this will affect people who are scheduled to appear in federal courts.
- Half of the federal Bureau of Prisons 36,000-person staff are furloughed, including many who provide therapeutic programs for prisoners and other services considered not to be “essential.”
- At some facilities, inmate visits with their families were canceled during the holiday season.
- Inmates who are terminally ill and awaiting “compassionate release” to die at home with their families now must wait even longer because their applications are going unread.
- Indian Health Service (IHS)-run clinics, which provide direct health care to tribes around the country, are open because they are considered essential. However, other tribal/urban Indian health and mental health programs may be affected.
- People who receive rental assistance or housing, such as through Section 8, may be affected depending on when their contract is supposed to renew.
- We know that some programs are already impacted. HUD sent letters to 1,500 landlords who lack contracts asking them to not evict people covered by the Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance program or Section 202 (for the elderly) and Section 811 (for people with disabilities including mental illness) programs.
- If you are worried your assistance may be affected, please contact your state housing authority.
-NAMI, National Alliance on Mental Illness