011316-nws-rend-lake-floodplains-1.jpg (copy)

Cassie Magsig of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers looks out over the spillway at Rend Lake in 2016. ACE said in a news release Monday that many areas they manage were closed Monday because of the federal government shutdown.

CARBONDALE — A sign in the Social Security Administration office in the Paul Simon Federal Building on Monday listed what services were and were not available during the federal government shutdown, which began shortly after midnight Saturday when legislators could not agree on an appropriations bill.

The shutdown ended Monday evening after the House and Senate approved a measure to fund the federal government through Feb. 8. President Donald Trump signed the bill, meaning agencies can now begin the process of recalling employees and opening as usual. 

Visitors to the office could apply for benefits, request an appeal, change an address or direct deposit information, report a death, verify or change citizenship status, replace a missing Social Security payment, get a critical payment or process a change in living arrangements or income.

Social Security could not issue new or replacement Social Security or Medicare cards, issue a proof of income letter or update or correct earnings record.

For offices are not regularly open weekends, federal employees reported to work Monday only to be furloughed and sent home.

Lt. Col. Brad Leighty, public affairs director for Illinois National Guard, said 1,000 of the guard’s employees statewide were sent home Monday morning. Most of them were military technicians who are paid full-time Army employees.

“It’s definitely been disruptive. Before we can bring them back, we need to have a signed appropriation. If we get a signed bill, we can bring them back tomorrow,” Leighty said.

But that was not the only disruption for Illinois National Guard. They had to curtail a number of training events over the weekend and send soldiers home, including soldiers from Marion.

“We sent about 1,000 home over the weekend from basic training at weekend drills. It is important that we train,” Leighty said. “We are talking about a significant number of soldiers.”

He added that the training events canceled by the government shutdown will be rescheduled. During a government shutdown, they do not have authority to spend money.

Other soldiers were scheduled for yearly physical exams, and they were able to continue as planned due to the contracts for those exams.

Leighty said some contracts had to be canceled, which will result in about $8,000 in cancellation fees.

A call to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Crab Orchard National Wildlife Service was picked up by an answering machine.

“You have reached U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge. We are not in the office due to the current lapse in federal appropriations” the recorded voice said, adding that the latest information is available at doi.gov/shutdown.

For the Shawnee National Forest, only essential employees, such as police officers and firefighters and personnel needed to shut down and secure its facilities would be working during the shutdown.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Rend Lake sent a news release Monday saying that they were affected by a government-wide shutdown beginning Saturday. As a result, many areas managed by ACE at Rend Lake were closed until further notice, including the project office and visitor center and all gated day use areas (Jackie Branch, Turnip Patch, Ina Boat Ramp, South Marcum and North Marcum).

The water portion of Rend Lake remains open. Access to the lake is available in Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park, Sailboat Harbor and Rend Lake Conservancy District Boat Ramp off Illinois 154. Rend Lake Bike Trails all remains open for use. Rend Lake Marina is not affected by the shutdown and will be open regular winter hours.

U.S. District Court in Benton remained open Monday. A news release from the court said most proceedings and deadlines will continue as scheduled, but advised said they could operate about three weeks using existing funds.

0
0
0
0
1

Reporter

Marilyn Halstead is a reporter covering Williamson County.

Load comments