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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Autism and the Shutdown

Many federal government activities have started shutting down as Congress failed yesterday to agree to a continuing budget resolution to keep the government running beyond September 30. Federal agencies last night submitted their shutdown plans to the Office of Management and Budget.
While the shutdown will not stop Medicaid and Social Security assistance for the nation's disabilities community, the processing of claims, new applications and other activities could be slowed significantly due to furloughs of staff. New autism research by the National Institutes of Health and prevalence monitoring by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also could be impacted due to furloughs. Military families could see some reductions in services provided by civilian employees. About one-third of federal employees will be furloughed.
Medicaid and Social Security funding by federal law is mandatory and therefore checks will continue to be issued. But due to employee furloughs, the processing of payments and new applications could be delayed should the shutdown become extended.

Public schools also should experience little immediate impact as they have already received a portion of their federal funding and are largely funded by state and local government.
Vulnerable areas for the autism community include the Department of Defense where civilian employees who provide support services for military families are subject to furlough.