What a Government Shutdown Means for Our Residents
Federal Government Shutdown: Frequently Asked Questions
Funding for the federal government expires on September 30. I am working to keep critical services up and running for families in our community, but House Republicans are charging forward with shutting down the government.
A government shutdown will have serious impacts for our residents. To help you plan for a possible federal government shutdown, my office has prepared answers to these frequently asked questions. You can also contact my office at 313-463-6220.
How long will the government shutdown last?
Although we do not know how long this shutdown will last, my team, my colleagues and I will be working tirelessly to find a solution to this matter.
Will Congressional offices remain open during the shutdown?
Our Neighborhood Service Centers and Washington, D.C. office will remain open and fully functional during the shutdown.
How will the government be affected by a shutdown?
Each government agency has contingency plans for how to operate during a federal shutdown. You can find a list of the most updated plans provided by the Office of Management and Budget here. Many will have to stop or reduce the essential services they provide with this lapse in funding, as well as put employees on furlough until the agencies are funded at capacity again.
Will I continue to receive my Social Security and SSI checks?
Recipients will continue to receive their Social Security and SSI checks. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will provide limited services like issuing Social Security cards and holding appointments for benefit applications. However, SSA will stop services like benefit verifications and processing overpayments. Customer service wait times will dramatically increase.
Will Medicare and Medicaid benefits be affected?
Current Medicare, Medicaid, and disability insurance beneficiaries will continue to receive their benefits assuming a shutdown lasts less than three months.
What happens to veterans’ services?
All Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities and clinics will remain operational. The VA will continue to process veterans’ benefits. However, veterans will be affected by the shutdown of other services that they count on, including education and job training, support for veteran-owned businesses, and even assistance for homeless veterans.
Which federal employees keep working during a government shutdown?
When the government shuts down, federal agencies are required to classify their employees whose salaries have lapsed as either “excepted” or “not excepted.” The employees classified as “excepted” work without pay during the shutdown. The employees classified as “not excepted” are put on unpaid furlough.
What is the impact on U.S. military personnel?
All active-duty and Guard and Reservists on active-duty orders are excepted and therefore are required to work without pay. On-base non-acute health care will cease, although off-base care provided through Tricare will not be affected. On-base child care will be open on a case-by-case basis.
Will military and federal retiree benefits be suspended?
Military and federal retirees will continue to receive their retirement benefits. Processing new applications or other requested changes will be delayed.
Will air travel be affected?
Air traffic controllers and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers will remain on the job without pay. If some do not report to work, as has happened in prior shutdowns, there will be significant delays and longer wait times across the country.
What does this mean for disaster relief efforts?
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) staff will still respond to emergencies, but all long-term projects will be delayed due to a lack of funding in the Disaster Relief Fund.
How will this affect environmental protection and cleanup?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will stop inspecting most hazardous waste sites, as well as drinking water and chemical facilities. Efforts to address dangerous contaminants like PFAS — which are linked to severe health effects, including cancer — will be delayed, and cleanup activities at Superfund sites will slow or cease.
What is the impact on food assistance?
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) will quickly run out of funding and be unable to provide food for children and parents in need. In the case of a prolonged shutdown, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits may also be affected.
What is the impact on food safety activities?
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) food safety activities — such as routine inspections of facilities — will be delayed across the country.
What is the impact on housing?
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will stop insuring some new mortgages and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will stop processing some new loans. The Department of Agriculture (USDA) will stop new loan and loan guarantee activity. The VA will continue to guarantee home loans. Funding for federal housing assistance programs, such as Housing Choice Vouchers, may be jeopardized in a prolonged shutdown.
How will this affect small businesses?
The Small Business Administration (SBA) will stop processing new business loans, such as through the 7(a) and 504 programs. However, SBA’s Disaster Loan Program will continue regular operations.
Will my mail still arrive?
Yes. The U.S. Postal Service is not affected by a shutdown.
What does this mean for medical research?
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) will be forced to delay new clinical trials. New patients who are waiting for a chance at new treatment through a clinical trial will be turned away.
Will I still be able to visit National Parks and monuments?
Across the country, services that require National Park Service staff — including trash removal and operating campgrounds and concessions — may be stopped. Closures will be determined on a location-by-location basis; open-air parks and monuments in Washington, D.C. will likely remain accessible. Smithsonian museums may also be impacted by a lengthy shutdown.
How does this affect passports and help for Americans overseas?
Consular services, passport services, and visa services are expected to continue in the immediate aftermath of a government shutdown. In a prolonged shutdown, passport and visa issuance could be slowed. Access to passport agencies located in some government buildings may be limited.
What is the impact on state and local services?
The federal government shutdown will not immediately affect any state or local services. However, with federal funding cut off, some state or local governments may have to change their operations. Check with state and local agencies for specific questions.