Curious About Possible Shutdown

Posted by Ken Tucci, WBZ-TV
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(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

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BOSTON (CBS) – A lot of you have sent us “curiosities” asking about the repercussions if the federal government shuts down.  Our Jim Armstrong provides these answers.

WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong answers questions about the looming government shutdown

I was planning to mail my tax check this Friday to the IRS.  Is this a good idea? – Julie, Leominster

Yes and no.  The Postal Service is not affected by a shutdown, so your check will get to the tax man.  Shutdown or not, all returns must be postmarked by the 18th.  But IRS staffers are affected, so refunds from paper returns will be delayed.  If you file electronically, you should be ok.

Would checks still be issued to people collecting unemployment?  – Olga, Quincy

The Labor Department says….probably.  But local officials are more optimistic.  Jim checked with the Mass. Unemployment office today and was told that payments will continue normally no matter what.  There is some concern that a very long shutdown might affect extended benefits, but Mass. officials say that won’t be a problem here.

Won’t Federal employees eventually be paid, and therefore just get extra paid vacation days?  – Joe, Bridgewater

Almost certainly not.  Furloughed workers would  need an act of Congress to collect back wages, something experts think is very unlikely.  Fifteen years ago some workers did get retroactive pay, but in this economic climate, that probably won’t happen again.

But here’s a caution.  In almost every case, no one can say with 100% certainty what’s going to happen.  Even agency experts say things like…this service “should” continue, or that benefit “would likely” be extended.  We won’t know how everything will play out until it does.

 Do you think there will be a shutdown?  And does it matter?

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