As the partial government shutdown heads into its third week, making it the third-longest shutdown in American history, many citizens are beginning to experience the detrimental effects of a halted federal government.
For federal employees the shutdown has brought the financial burden of being expected to work for no paycheck. However, for those who are not federally employed, there are still several ways the partial shutdown could affect your life.
As we head into tax season, many have wondered how the government shutdown will affect tax return filing. Although the IRS has furloughed many of its employees during the shutdown, everyone will still be required to file and pay any taxes owed by tax day. However, for those expecting a refund, no money will be sent until the government reopens.
This means if you are someone who likes to file your return as soon as your employer sends you a W-2, you may experience a significant delay in the time it takes to receive the money.
Additionally, if you have ever needed to call the IRS for questions about tax filing, you'll have to find someone else to assist you. The IRS also will not perform audits during the shutdown.
Although Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents are required to work without paychecks, many have began to put their foot down. Last week, hundreds of employees called out sick from at least four major airports, CNN reported.
While spokesman from the Department of Homeland Security called the statistic “fake news," photos from security lines a LaGuardia Airport in New York appear to confirm airports are understaffed.
If you have scheduled air travel during the shutdown, it is advised that you get to the airport earlier than you originally planned in case of any screening delays. Likewise, Amtrak is not experiencing the same delays are airports and could be used as alternate form of travel for short trips.
Also, it doesn't hurt to smile and offer kind words to any TSA agents you encounter on your trip. Remember they are not being paid and still coming to work, which is not something many of us would do.
As of right now, the Department of Agriculture believes it has enough money to continue paying food stamp benefits for the month of January; however, they have not specified when money for the program will run dry.
Every month, nearly 39 million people depend on food assistance programs. Already, users of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) have had issues using their EBT cards at grocery stores in Indiana.
According to WTWO, Tristen Malone, manager of the IGA grocery store, said EBT cards have been declined on the store’s machines since the beginning of the month.
If the shutdown continues for "months," as Trump said it may, millions of people who use government assistance to put food on the table may be left without the necessary resources.
A lesser known effect of the government shutdown is the increase of garbage in National Parks. While the Trump administration has kept National Parks open for visitors during the shutdown, staffing is so low that many of the sites have experienced an influx of trash and sewage issues.
Joshua Tree National Park closed Wednesday over health and safety concerns stemming from overfilled toilets. Yosemite National Park also limited access to the park "due to continuing issues with human waste and resource damage."
In general, having trash and waste pile up with no disposal time scheduled is bad for the environment and the community. Several independent groups have begun trash collecting efforts in various parks.
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), which regulates the alcohol beverage industry, will not be approving any permits for new breweries. Also, labels for new seasonal brews or new wines have been put on hold.
"If the shutdown goes on for an extended time," Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association, said, "beer drinkers won't see much in the way of innovative new brands on the shelves where they buy beer."
(Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)