GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

Government shutdown 2013: List of services affected

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The government shutdown is having far-reaching consequences for some, but minimal impact on others.

Mail is being delivered. Social Security and Medicare benefits are continuing to flow.

But vacationers are being turned away from national parks and Smithsonian museums. Low-to-moderate income borrowers and first-time homebuyers seeking government-backed mortgages are facing delays.

Here's a look at how services are being affected if Congress fails to reach an agreement averting a government shutdown at midnight Monday, courtesy of the Associated Press:

AIR TRAVEL

Federal air traffic controllers remain on the job and airport screeners  keep funneling passengers through security checkpoints. Federal inspectors continue to enforce safety rules.

INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL

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 continue to provide services to American citizens.

BENEFIT PAYMENTS

Social Security and Medicare benefits keep coming, but there could be delays in processing new disability applications. Unemployment benefits still go out.

FEDERAL COURTS

Federal courts continue operating normally for about 10 business days after the start of a shutdown, roughly until the middle of October. If the shutdown continues, the judiciary would have to begin furloughs of employees whose work is not considered essential. But cases would continue to be heard.

MAIL

Deliveries continue as usual because the U.S. Postal Service receives no tax dollars for day-to-day operations. It relies on income from stamps and other postal fees to keep running.

RECREATION

All national parks are be closed, as are the Smithsonian museums, including the National Zoo in Washington. Visitors using overnight campgrounds or other park facilities were given 48 hours to make alternate arrangements and leave the park. Among the visitor centers that are closed: the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in New York, Independence Hall in Philadelphia and Alcatraz Island near San Francisco.

HEALTH

New patients are not being accepted into clinical research at the National Institutes of Health, but current patients would continue to receive care. Medical research at the NIH is disrupted and some studies have been delayed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is be severely limited in spotting or investigating disease outbreaks such as the flu or that mysterious MERS virus from the Middle East.

FOOD SAFETY

The Food and Drug Administration is handling high-risk recalls, but has suspended most routine safety inspections. Federal meat inspections proceed as usual.

HEAD START

A small number of Head Start programs, about 20 out of 1,600 nationally, have felt the impact right away. The federal Administration for Children and Families says grants expiring about Oct. 1 would not be renewed. Over time, more programs would be affected. Several of the Head Start programs that would immediately feel the pinch are in Florida. It's unclear if they would continue serving children.

FOOD ASSISTANCE

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, known as WIC, could shut down. The program provides supplemental food, health care referrals and nutrition education for pregnant women, mothers and their children.

School lunches and breakfasts continue to be served, and food stamps, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, continue to be distributed. But several smaller feeding programs do not have the money to operate.

TAXES

Americans still have to pay their taxes and file federal tax returns, but the Internal Revenue Service says it would suspend all audits. Got questions? Sorry, the IRS says taxpayer services, including toll-free help lines, are shut as well.

LOANS

Many low-to-moderate incomes borrowers and first-time homebuyers seeking government-backed mortgages face delays during the shutdown. The Federal Housing Administration, which guarantees about 30 percent of home mortgages, won't underwrite or approve any new loans during the shutdown. Action on government-backed loans to small businesses would be suspended.

SCIENCE

NASA will continue to keep workers at Mission Control in Houston and elsewhere to support the International Space station, where two Americans and four others are deployed. The National Weather Service keeps forecasting weather and issuing warnings and the National Hurricane Center continues to track storms. The scientific work of the U.S. Geological Survey would be halted.

HOMELAND SECURITY

The majority of the Department of Homeland Security's employees are expected to stay on the job, including uniformed agents and officers at the country's borders and ports of entry, members of the Coast Guard, Transportation Security Administration officers, Secret Service personnel and other law enforcement agents and officers. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services employees continue to process green card applications.

MILITARY

The military's 1.4 million active duty personnel stay on duty, but their paychecks are likely delayed. About half of the Defense Department's civilian employees could be furloughed.

PRISONS

All 116 federal prisons remain open, and criminal litigation proceeds.

VETERANS SERVICES

Most services offered through the Department of Veterans Affairs continue because lawmakers approve money one year in advance for the VA's health programs.

Veterans are still be 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 those veterans appealing the denial of disability benefits to the Board of Veterans Appeals will have to wait longer for a decision because the board would not issue any decisions during a shutdown.

WORK SAFETY

Federal occupational safety and health inspectors would stop workplace inspections except in cases of imminent danger.

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