Sorry, We're Closed: What the Government Shutdown Means to You

Spending Showdown
A government shutdown is looming: Barring an act of God, at midnight Monday, the federal government will, to some extent, close up shop. While an endless array of websites have endlessly pored over the finer points of this little bit of horrifyingly bad governance, here's a quick rundown of who is going to go to work Tuesday, who is going to stay home, and how the looming shutdown affects you.

Who's Going to Work

Basically, anyone who defends the country, processes payments that people need to live, or is paid through independent funding is going to work tomorrow. This includes (among others):
  • Members of the military
  • Air traffic controllers
  • People who work on the power grid
  • Federal guards
  • People working for social security, welfare, and other benefit programs
  • Mail carriers
  • Emergency medical care workers
  • Food inspectors
  • Border patrol officers
  • Prison guards
  • Members of Congress
  • The President
These people might not get paychecks during the shutdown (although the military probably will -- a quick bill to ensure that passed with bipartisan support late Monday), but they will likely get paid retroactively when the crisis is over.

Who Might Be Staying Home

People who aren't on that list -- basically, 1.2 million "non-essential" workers -- could be staying home. These include Congressional staffers and White House staffers -- in other words, most of the people who work for elected officials but weren't themselves elected.

For that matter, all non-essential personnel such as park rangers, museum workers, most bureaucrats and, frankly, almost everyone in Washington, D.C., will stay home. Washington's mayor has been working to have most D.C. employees declared essential workers, which would keep the city's police on the streets and its sanitation workers in their trucks.

How the Shutdown Will Affect You

If you were planning to make use of the federal government this week, things aren't looking so good. Here are some of the things you probably won't be able to do this week:
  • Get a firearms permit
  • Verify the immigration status of any of your employees
  • Get a replacement Social Security card
  • Get a new passport
  • Get any new veteran or Social Security benefit requests processed
  • Go to a national park
  • Go to a federally-funded museum
  • Apply to take part in any new federally funded clinical studies
  • Rely on the CDC to track any new flu outbreaks
  • Get a federally-guaranteed new home loan
In short, if you've ever wondered about the impact that the federal government has on your day-to-day life, this promises to be a very interesting and informative week.

Bruce Watson is DailyFinance's Savings Editor. You can reach him by e-mail at, or follow him on Twitter at @bruce1971.

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Every time I go a new AOL'Huff Post page that number grows. Another Obama sycophant on another page told us that 800,000 will be paid for not working. You guys need to get your stories straight.

'People who aren't on that list -- basically, 1.2 million "non-essential" workers -- could be staying home." But getting paid later, making this simply ANOTHER paid vacation period funded by the taxpayers who can't go to the Zoo, parks, or museums that they pay for!

And if they are "non-essential" why are they on the payroll in the first place.

October 02 2013 at 5:12 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

If they laid of the "non essential" government employees, let them stay home forever.

October 01 2013 at 9:13 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

When the article said "No firearm permits", does that mean no CCWs, or not being able to buy a gun, period?

October 01 2013 at 2:46 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Frances Hale Young HE WILL LIVE " OFF HIS SAVINGS" AND replace it when he receives his retro pay... You have forgotten to mention that !!

October 01 2013 at 10:54 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Frances Hale Young

My brother works for the VA in Colorado. He processes claims for disabled veterans. I haven't talked to him today, but last week he feared they would be an office that would shut down. That means those newly discharged disabled vets will have their claims just sit and he will live off savings until the crisis is over. One child in college and two in high school. My 2 cents worth is that both parties should just be still and listen. If they listen the answers will come.

October 01 2013 at 10:01 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Last time it shutdown there was minimal impact. But, Congress and the President should still be working on this rather than digging their heels in and saying, "No negotiations.".

October 01 2013 at 9:55 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Chad Griffin

Congress losses their helpers, and I will have to wait till summer to go to Yosemite. I think I will manage.

October 01 2013 at 8:59 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

Ye Hawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww No goverment no big brother I love being a redneck

October 01 2013 at 8:49 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

As long as our military gets paid I would not care if the government shut down for a year....
Most federal workers being furloughed arent worth the skidmarks in their underwear.

October 01 2013 at 8:46 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

The whole country should go on strike. Obama is so busy meeting with foreign leaders that he is ignoring the country's problems to the point where he won't even meet with his own Congress. This should come first. But he has no answers, and wants to get out of the responsibility. Would rather sit with some foreign leader and beat around the bush with his uhhhhs, ahhhhs, ummmms..

October 01 2013 at 8:30 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply