Home > government-shutdown-faqs > Government shutdown FAQs

Government shutdown FAQs

Government Shutdown

As you may know, Congress and the President must enact interim or full-year appropriations by the beginning of the federal fiscal year (October 1) for many governmental activities to continue operating.  Failure of the President and Congress to reach agreement on interim or full-year funding measures may result in the shutdown of affected government activities. 

In a concerted effort to avoid a shutdown of the Federal government, the House of Representatives has voted multiple times to keep the government open, and we have extended an invitation to the Senate to meet in an effort to negotiate the differences between the two chambers.  Regrettably, these sincere offers have been rejected. 

While I remain committed to finding common ground and solutions that help American families and keeps the government open, I want to be sure you are informed as to how a government shutdown may affect you.  In addition to the information below, please see the Congressional Research Service Reports: Federal Funding Gaps: A Brief Overview, and Shutdown of the Federal Government: Causes, Processes, and Effects.

Please note that the following information is subject to change as the Federal government remains shutdown. If you have specific questions about the impact of the government shutdown, please do feel free to contact my office.

Government Shutdown: Question and Answers

  • Question:  Will I continue to receive my Social Security Retirement benefit? 

    Answer:  Because these benefits do not go through the annual appropriations process, and based on the information that my office has received, Social Security checks will continue to be issued.  However, the impact of the government shutdown on things like the processing of new claims and other administrative functions is not yet known. 
  • Question:  I am currently covered by Medicare; what happens to my coverage during the shutdown?

    Answer: Based on the information that my office has received, care for beneficiaries should not be interrupted.  However, delays may occur in the processing of new enrollments.
  • Question:  How does the shutdown affect veterans’ disability compensation and claims processing?  Does a shutdown affect veterans’ health services through the VA?

    Answer: According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), all VA medical facilities and clinics would remain fully operational including: inpatient care, outpatient care, prescriptions, surgeries, dental treatment, extended care, mental health care, nursing home care, special health care services for women veterans and vet centers.
    Further, based on the information my office has seen, claims processing and payments in the compensation, pension, education, and vocational rehabilitation programs are anticipated to continue.  Although, they may be delayed depending on the length of the shutdown.
  • Question: Will members of the military be paid?

    Answer: On September 30th, the President signed H.R. 3210, the Pay Our Military Act, which ensures that our military personnel on active duty –including reserve component personnel on Federal active duty – continue  to be paid through the shutdown.
  • Question: What does a shutdown mean for the IRS?

    Answer: According to the information my office has received, the IRS would halt non-automated collections and tax processing activities, but would continue activities necessary for the protection of government property.  These activities include – but are not limited to – processing tax payment remittances.  However, services including telephone customer service are expected to be halted. 
  • Question: What would happen with Unemployment Benefits?

    Answer: State and Federal extended benefits are mandatory spending and will not be affected if a shutdown occurs. Initial unemployment claims data will continue to be released each Thursday. However, any other data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, such as the monthly jobs report currently scheduled for release on Friday, October 4th, will be delayed.
  • Question: Will Passport processing be delayed due to the shutdown?

    Answer: According to the information provided to my office, State Consular functions, both domestically and abroad, are funded by fees-for-service so they will not be immediately impacted by a government work stoppage. However, some passport offices are located in federal buildings that may be forced to shut down during a work stoppage, impacting service.  At this time, the Chicago Passport Agency, which is the primary processing facility for residents of Wisconsin’s 1st District, has reported that they are open and conducting business as usual.
  • Question: If I’m visiting Washington D.C., will national parks and museums be shutdown?

    Answer: Based on the information provided to our office, national parks will be closed for public use.  And while the U.S. Capitol building is open to Members of Congress, staff, and individuals on official business, the Capitol Visitor’s Center will be closed.  If you have questions on your tours or your trip to our nation’s capital, please feel free to contact my Washington D.C. office at (202) 225-3031.