How a local man will be impacted by government shutdown

Created: 09/30/2013 6:28 PM WHEC.com
By: Berkeley Brean

The standoff is not over yet. Lawmakers have until midnight to avoid a shut down.  

Some people could be affected by a federal government shutdown almost from day one. That's people who are appealing to get help from social security.

It was a struggle for Stephen Imburgia to walk into his Social Security Disability Advocate's Office Monday. He's a veteran of the first Gulf War and spent 27 years in the service. A year and a half ago, he was part of the Honor Guard at two military funerals. On his way to the second one, his car was hit on Route 104. Stephen suffered 18 broken bones and was in a coma. Stephen applied for Social Security Disability and was denied. He's appealing that decision. Normally, those appeals are heard within 12 months. But the last time the government shut down in the mid 1990's, that waiting period went to 28 months.  

Stephen's advocate, Mary Wilcox Perry, says everything gets backed up and grinds to a halt. 

Mary Wilcox Perry, Mary Perry Accredited Disability Representative, said, “People don't realize the impact it has. They lose their marriages. They lose their homes. If it takes that much longer because of the shutdown, because things will take longer, then it's going to be that much longer that they're not going to be able to get what they need in order to go forward.”

Stephen Imburgia said, “I don't know, from one day to the next, when my benefits are going to end. So I'm kind of frightened that, in the future, I may not have anything to help me and my children.”

Stephen has a teenage daughter and 10-year-old son. Any delay in the appeals process makes his situation worse.