What's at stake in fiscal crisis

  • Updated: October 15, 2013 - 10:10 PM

what’s at stake

The shutdown continued into its third week as lawmakers struggled to find a solution.

2 days until Treasury said it will run out of money to pay its bills

$16.7 trillion current debt ceiling limit

$1 trillion amount Democrats want to raise debt ceiling. It would push expiration to December 2014, past midterm elections that November

450,000 federal workers idled at a range of agencies

BENEFIT PAYMENTS

Social Security and Medicare benefits continue to be paid out, but there could be delays in processing new disability applications. Unemployment benefits are also still going out.

The Social Security Administration is delaying the announcement of the size of next year’s cost-of-living adjustment, which was supposed to be released Oct. 16. According to an analysis by the Associated Press, preliminary figures suggest next year’s benefit increase will be roughly 1.5 percent. The increase will be small because consumer prices, as measured by the government, haven’t gone up much the past year. For the second year in a row, it would be one of the lowest raises since automatic adjustments were adopted in 1975.

TRAVEL

Federal air traffic controllers remain on the job and airport screeners continue to funnel passengers through security checkpoints. The State Department continues processing foreign applications for visas and U.S. applications for passports, since fees are collected to finance those services. Embassies and consulates overseas remain open and are providing services for U.S. citizens abroad.

FEDERAL COURTS

Federal courts, which have been using fees and other funds to operate since the shutdown began, likely will have enough money to operate until Oct. 17 and possibly Oct. 18. The Supreme Court, however, said its business will go on.

VETERANS SERVICES

Veterans are still able to get health care through VA hospitals and outpatient clinics because Congress approved funding for VA health care programs one year in advance.

The department administers numerous benefits for veterans and survivors such as disability pay, pensions and tuition reimbursement. The VA has warned Congress that it will be unable to make next month’s payments for those various benefits if the shutdown continues into late October. This would affect more than 5 million veterans.

HOUSING

Home buyers and sellers in rural areas face delays in closing on loans backed by the Department of Agriculture.

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