What a Government Shutdown Means for You

What services are stopped?

National parks, national monuments, and Smithsonian museums are closed.

The Small Business Administration stopped approving applications for small businesses to obtain loans and loan guarantees. Housing loans to low and middle income families in rural communities are on hold as are start-up business loans for farmers and ranchers.

 Operation of E-Verify activities by the Department of Homeland Security are suspended and patent processing is stopped.

VA call centers and hotlines are shut as are veteran job training services.

For a full breakdown of how the shutdown affects each agency, check out this detailed breakdown.

What services will continue?

Services that are deemed essential for the safety of human life and the protection of property remain open. This includes the armed forces, border patrol, police, fire fighting and federal workers who provide medical care on the job. The Postal Service and the Federal Reserve, which are both self-funded, also continue to operate.

Will I still get my Social Security benefits?

Social security benefits will be paid on time, and Social Security offices will be open to take new benefit applications. However, the Social Security Administration will not issue new or replacement Social Security and Medicare cards or verify Social Security numbers.  Since 18,000 employees have been furloughed, you can expect some disruption of services and a backlog of unprocessed work.

Will active military members still get paid?

Yes, Congress passed legislation that will continue funding for the military during the shutdown.

Will Veteran benefits continue?

While VA hospitals remain open, benefit programs will likely be effected by a prolonged shutdown as funding for these program lapses at the end of October. Education and rehabilitation benefits will not be processed and the Board of Veterans’ Appeals will  not be holding hearings during the shutdown.

Will unemployment benefits be affected?

Depending on the length of the shutdown, the federal funds that help states pay the costs of their unemployment programs could run out, which would require the state to step in and advance the money to keep their programs running. Otherwise, benefits would be reduced or stopped.

Will I be able to get my passport processed?

Passport services and visa applications continue to be processed, however, if a passport agency is located in a government building that’s closed due to the shutdown, that office will be unable to process passports.

I am planning to visit DC. Will my trip be affected?

All areas of the National Park and National Wildlife Refuge Systems are closed. The Smithsonian Museums, National Zoo, and Kennedy Center are closed to the public. The Capitol and the Capitol Visitors Center are also closed and no public tours are available. However, Metro services are running as scheduled.

How will government contractors be affected?

If funding for a contract has already been obligated, or if the contract is multi-year, it is not effected by a shutdown.

Can federal workers file for unemployment?

In Washington state, unemployment benefits are determined on a weekly basis. The Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) notes that people who normally work full time, but whose hours are reduced due to furloughs or government shutdowns are generally not eligible for benefits as they still earn too much in a week to be eligible. You can determine if you are eligible to receive benefits by estimating your weekly unemployment benefit amount and then using this chart to see if you are eligible.

However, the ESD decides eligibility on a case-by-case basis, so you can still submit an application for benefits.

For more frequently asked questions, view this list from the USA Today.