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What the 'sequester' means for you ... and what won't change

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WHAT'S EXEMPT FROM CUTS

Social Security. The program will keep paying old-age, survivors, and disability benefits. But it might be harder to get customer service help. The White House has warned that sequester would mean “a reduction in service hours to the public, and a substantial growth in the backlog of Social Security disability claims.”

Medicaid. Health insurance for low-income Americans will continue.

Medicare. Most Medicare funding for seniors will continue. Untouched are Medicare Part D low-income premium and cost-sharing subsidies; Medicare Part D catastrophic subsidy payments; and Qualified Individual (QI) premiums.

Veterans. All programs administered by the Veterans Administration, and special benefits for certain World War II veterans, are exempt from cuts.

Food stamps. The program formally called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is unchanged.

SSI. The Supplemental Security Income, which pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited income, continue as is.

Foster care. Foster care and Permanency Programs.

Treasury bonds. Net interest on the national debt is to be paid as usual.

Tax credits. Payments to individuals in the form of refundable tax credits will proceed as usual, such as the earned-income tax credit (EITC) for low-income households.

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