The Government Shutdown May or May Not Affect You. Here’s What to Expect

As the clock ticks towards September 30th, the nation braces itself for the possibility of yet another government shutdown. The deadline looms for Congress to agree on federal funding for the upcoming fiscal year, but the heated debate over where the money should go has led to a stalemate. Remember the last government shutdown that stretched on for 34 long days back in December 2018 through January 2019? Well, it could happen again.

Impact Could Hurt Millions

If the showdown in Congress results in a government shutdown, it won’t just be lawmakers feeling the heat. Millions of folks will feel the immediate impact. Federal workers, spanning agencies from Defense to Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security, might face furloughs. Essential employees, meanwhile, will be expected to keep working but won’t see a paycheck. 

What About the Rest of Us? But what does this political tug-of-war mean for folks who don’t work directly for the federal government? Let’s break it down.

Student Loans Might be Delayed

Worried about your federal student loan payment? Don’t be too concerned – it’s still due in October as the pandemic-related payment pause officially comes to an end. A government shutdown doesn’t change that. However, the White House has cautioned that if the shutdown drags on, it could cause some delays in student loan processes. So, borrowers should be prepared to make their October payments.

Social Security Stays Stable

Great news for Social Security recipients – your checks will continue to arrive on schedule even if the government grinds to a halt. Social Security operates as a mandatory program with separate funding, so it won’t be affected by the funding bills causing the shutdown. While some services like benefit verifications and Medicare card replacements may take a pause, critical functions like processing benefit applications and appeals will carry on.

Visitor Centers Might Close in National Parks

Planning a trip to one of the U.S. beautiful national parks? Well, if the government decides to take a break, you might need to rethink your trip. Essential services like restrooms and visitor centers could close their doors. The National Parks Conservation Association advises against visiting during a shutdown, both for your safety and to protect these natural wonders.

Air Travel Might Suffer, Too

If you’re gearing up for air travel, prepare for some potential turbulence. Workers from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) won’t be receiving paychecks during a government shutdown, even though they’ll be expected to continue working. Remember the 2018-19 shutdown? It led to travel delays as TSA and FAA agents were absent due to the lack of pay. A prolonged shutdown could lead to a similar scenario.

So, mark your calendars and keep an eye on the news. While a government shutdown isn’t guaranteed, it’s always a good idea to be ready for the unexpected twists and turns of the political rollercoaster.


Ivy Wu

Ivy Wu was a media reporter at btw media. She graduated from Korea University with a major in media and communication, and has rich experience in reporting and news writing.

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