As the federal government draws closer to a shutdown, it is fair to ask how would the shutdown affect you.
We’ll try our best to cover the bases as the clock winds down to midnight on October 1.
What is the impact on law enforcement or U.S. military personnel?
Active-duty U.S. military personnel and many law enforcement officers would remain on the job but be forced to work without pay. Military training operations could be curtailed, which will impact our national security and our military’s readiness. Many civilian personnel, including military technicians, are likely to be furloughed.
How will the shutdown affect travel?
Air traffic controllers and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers would be forced to work without pay, which could lead to delays and long wait times at airports.
How will the shutdown impact FEMA’s efforts to respond to natural disaster clean-up efforts?
A government shutdown would complicate new emergency response efforts. Funding for long-term recovery projects—like the 2020 Midland flooding—would be halted and delayed, including FEMA relief to restore the Midland Center for the Arts.
Will I be able to renew my passport?
Renewal and processing times of passports have already been delayed this year, and some passport services could be delayed during a shutdown, particularly if they are in agency buildings that are shuttered.
What is the impact on small businesses?
A government shutdown will impact federal loans to small businesses. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will not accept, review or approve any new business loans for small businesses.
Will a shutdown impact WIC and SNAP benefits?
Over seven million Americans who count on the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) would lose their benefits and turned away at grocery store counters.
Will I continue to receive my Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) checks?
Recipients would continue to receive their Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits. However, about 15% of the Social Security Administration’s staff would be furloughed, which could mean the delay or suspension of benefit verifications, replacement of Medicare cards, and determinations on disability claims.
Will my mail still arrive?
The U.S. Postal Service is an independent entity that is funded through the sale of its products and services, and would not be impacted by a government shutdown.
What is the impact on veterans’ services?
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) regional offices may close during a government shutdown. Regular operations, like career counseling, transition assistance, and cemetery grounds maintenance, could be impacted as well.
VA health care services and burials would continue, and the Department would also continue to process and deliver benefits to veterans, including compensation, pension, education and housing benefits.
Will I receive my tax refund?
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has not released an updated plan for operating during a potential shutdown. During previous shutdowns, taxpayer phone calls, taxpayer disputes and tax refunds were delayed.
What is the impact on medical research?
A government shutdown would stall critical research on diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s because the National Institutes of Health (NIH) would not be able to begin new clinical trials.
What is the impact on food safety?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) could be forced to delay food safety inspections for products in Pennsylvania and across the country.
What is the impact on water quality?
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) efforts to identify and clean up harmful contaminants in drinking water will be delayed.
What is the impact on workplace safety?
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) could be halted in inspections for workplace safety.
What will happen to student loan assistance and federal Head Start programs?
The U.S. Department of Education has stated that student aid and loan programs could be disrupted, including processing Free Applications for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) applications, disbursing Pell Grants and Federal Direct Student Loans and servicing Federal student loans.
Thousands of children across the country would lose access to Head Start programs.
Will I still be able to visit the national parks and monuments?
During the last government shutdown, national parks, including campgrounds and concession stands, were closed. All Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo would close.
Will infrastructure projects be delayed?
A shutdown could delay major infrastructure projects due to a delay in federal reviews, including projects to modernize utilities in rural communities.
Which federal employees keep working during a government shutdown?
When there is a government shutdown, federal agencies are required to classify their employees as either “essential” or “non-essential.” The employees classified as “essential” continue to work during the shutdown but without pay. Employees classified as “non-essential” are laid off and without pay.
Do furloughed federal employees get back pay?
The Government Employee Fair Treatment Act, signed into law in 2019, guarantees that furloughed government employees receive backpay once a shutdown ends. However, federal contractors impacted are not guaranteed backpay.