Most of the working folk I speak to about the government shutdown do not really know what is going on. It is because they work 40-plus hours a week and that takes up most of their time. I get my information from cable news and C-SPAN but I am at home all day homeschooling my teen boy and caring for my autistic adult daughter. I get to monitor the news, my working friends do not.
And, since I write not only to earn money, keep busy, help out humanity, I will write about the government shutdown and how it may affect government benefits.
When people hear government benefits, people think of handouts and that is because they do not really think about the mechanics of how they get paid. Workers cash their check and are conditioned not to think about the Social Security taxes deducted from our pay because we know we can't do anything about it. These taxes used to be called FICA on our paychecks.
The government takes money out of our pay to put aside for us in case we become disabled and cannot work or for our retirement. Surviving parents will get the Social Security death benefit payments based on their work record upon the other parent's death. These are called widow's/widower's and orphans benefits, unofficially.
An unmarried parent will get benefits paid to the underage child and her or himself upon the death of the father/mother of the child as long as that birth parent worked and had Social Security taxes taken out of his or her pay, until the child grows up.
These facts are based upon the knowledge that you have a social security number and worked above board jobs and paid the Social Security taxes due whether or not you are self-employed, work cash paid daily or work for someone else who pays you cash. You still have to pay your taxes when you file taxes. If you are unsure, after the government shutdown has ended, go to the Social Security website and find out your benefit amount or you can call the agency.
Married couples who have been married 10 years or more, will receive Social Security payments upon their spouse's death, to take care of underage and disabled offspring and will receive Social Security retirement payments based on their dead spouse's work record.
These benefits are not welfare. This is money you've earned, that has been removed from your pay regularly and set aside into the Social Security program. It is your money in the benefit payment.
So what does this have to do with you and the government shutdown? Congress is stalling a vote on raising the debt ceiling and benefit payments may be "delayed," according to the President of the United States, Barack Obama.
These news segments happen during the workday while most people are at work and they people talking about the government shutdown are at work and acting within the scope of their career. There is very little news available after 11 p.m. Most people do not understand or think to look to Yahoo or Google news to find out what has happened that day. Shift workers especially may have their sleep cycles askew and may not think to check the news.
Internet news is available 24-hours a day, seven days a week. I monitor all news because that is what I do because I know it is important to know what is going on in general. However, I cannot know everything or think of everything. I need help too.
Now, how does this affect you? Do you have elderly parents? If so, they may receive Social Security benefits payments. Make sure you check on your parents or anyone you know who is disabled, to make sure they are okay. Everything has changed.
In Gary I read in the local newspaper that a home for the disabled relocated some of its residents due to closure. It is difficult to care for disabled people, they have specific needs. Imagine being elderly and having to take care of a disabled person. There would need to be a third person to look after both of them, in my opinion.
Working friends, please take 10 minutes out of your day to check the news on the Internet or make a habit of leaving one of the cable news channels like MSNBC or CNN on a television in your home. Learn to remember to look at it from time to time. It may seem boring if you are not into news but it is a necessity in these days and times.
By the way, Social Security benefits are also categorized erroneously as an entitlement program. How am I not entitled to my own money? Besides that, all government programs are funded by tax dollars. Civilized societies agree to be taxed at graduating levels according to income to help the elderly, poor and disabled —in other words people who cannot care for themselves—whether or not they work.
Furthermore, I have noticed that the less you can feel another person who is in distress or in pain, the less you care about it. There are people who are voiceless and unable to protect themselves who are affected by the government shutdown but are helpless to call a congressman or woman. Pick up the phone and call yours, because you can.