and Katie Byard
The federal government shutdown hit the Ohio National Guard hard on the first day.
More than 1,800 technicians were furloughed.
And veterans who die might have to wait to get into Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery in Rittman. The cemetery director offered no details, saying only that burials will occur at “a reduced rate.”
Those are just a few of the repercussions as the reality took hold.
• Eighth-graders in Medina had planned to board buses this week for Gettysburg, Pa., and Washington, D.C. It won’t happen.
• If you lost your Social Security or Medicare card, you’re out of luck. No replacements right now.
For the military, it is a bitter pill. Although federal officials promised that active-duty military would be safe from the shutdown, it is the Defense Department workers who will take the largest hit, and many of them are full-time military who are classified as civilian employees.
They go to work in uniform, they work in military offices, many have been deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq, but they are not immune.
1,800 out of work
James Sims, a spokesman for the Ohio National Guard, said 1,060 Ohio Air National Guard technicians and 759 Ohio Army National Guard technicians were furloughed.
In addition, Sims said, all flying operations involving the Ohio National Guard have been stopped.
At the Akron-Canton Airport National Guard Aviation facility in Green, 37 technicians were furloughed, Sims said.
“Technician is the general term applied to any employee of the Department of the Army or Air Force under control and supervision of the Adjutant General,” Sims said. “Within the Ohio National Guard there are two distinct classes of technician employees: dual and non-dual status.”
Sims said dual-status technicians are required to maintain military membership, wear a military uniform, observe military customs and courtesies and maintain military rank and unit of assignment compatible with their technician position.
Non-dual-status technicians, he said, have no military requirement as a condition of employment.
Both are equally affected.
The dual-status technicians, Sims said, “are the core cadre of individuals who train with our members before deployment, go with the unit when it deploys and return with the unit.”
Burials might be delayed
In Rittman on Tuesday, Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery Director Sean Baumgartner said the primary impact on the national cemetery where more than 23,000 have been buried will be a “reduced interment schedule.”
Baumgartner could not say what that reduced schedule will actually mean in terms of how many burials will occur.
Normally, there had been eight or nine a day, but numbers had been increasing.
On Monday there were 17, but on Tuesday, only three.
He said the small number on one day was coincidence and not related to the shutdown.
He said there would be some “non-exempt” employees at the cemetery who would be furloughed, but he did not know how many.
Baumgartner emphasized that burials will continue to occur, headstones will be installed and “benefits will be there for the veterans.”
The goal was to leave before sunup today and return to A.I. Root Middle School late Friday night “with many fond memories of Washington, D.C.”
The federal shutdown shredded that itinerary, postponing an eighth-grade trip to the nation’s capital.
Students would have stopped for a guided tour in Gettysburg on their way to the nation’s capital, where they planned to view memorials to Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy and Franklin Delano Roosevelt before checking into a hotel for the two-day stay. An itinerary posted to the school districts’s website shows students waking up the next morning and visiting the Capitol Building, where House Republicans have attempted to use the budget to defund the Affordable Care Act. The Senate has rejected each attempt.
The result: A budget impasse curtailing national park services and thwarting student trips.
Medina schools announced the trip would be rescheduled. A make-up date had not been posted on the district’s website as of Tuesday afternoon.
No Social Security cards
Social Security benefits should not be affected, the Social Security office in downtown Akron is open, but some services have been curtailed.
Regular hours remain: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays; and 9 a.m. to noon Wednesdays.
The Social Security Administration’s website spells out the shutdown plans, but here are the highlights, with these services maintained:
• Help applying for benefits.
• Assistance with appeal requests.
• Change of address or direct deposit information.
• Accepting reports of death.
• Verifying or changing your citizenship status.
• Replacing a lost or missing Social Security payment.
• Issuing a critical payment.
• Changing a representative payee.
• Processing a change in your living arrangement or income (SSI recipients only).
The following services are not being offered:
• Issuing new or replacement Social Security cards.
• Replacing a Medicare card.
• Issuing a proof of income letter.
Jim Carney can be reached at 330-996-3576 or firstname.lastname@example.org.