How Will a Possible Government Shutdown Affect You?

If Congress does not reach at least a temporary compromise on federal spending for Fiscal Year 2014 by midnight on September 30 (the day the current Fiscal Year ends), the government will shut down for the first time since a three-week closure in 1995-1996. Below, we have listed a few resources to explain just what the showdown will mean to you, but first let’s go through some basics.

Where are we now?
On Friday, September 27, the Senate passed a modified CR that only would continue federal funding through November 15. Senate Democratic leaders made this change in an effort to force House Republicans to address spending as part of a broader debate on sequestration and the debt limit next month. Over the weekend, the U.S. House of Representatives rejected the Senate-passed CR and adopted its own measure.

The new House CR would fund the government at roughly current spending levels (about $986.2 billion) through December 15, but includes provisions to delay the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for one year and repeal the medical-device tax. Senate Democratic leaders say that they will not accept any ACA language in a CR agreement, and the full Senate will meet this afternoon to consider a path forward. Absent an agreement between the House and Senate by midnight tonight, the federal government will shut down on October 1, the beginning of the new fiscal year.

(We will update this article accordingly if new or conflicting information becomes available).

Will people see an interruption in their Medicare, Social Security, or other federal benefits?
Medicare and Social Security are considered mandatory spending and therefore will not be affected by the shutdown. People will continue to receive their payments and reimbursements. However, payments could slow down as these agencies will likely have fewer staff handling the work.

The Washington Post also reported that federal employees – including active military – may not be paid retroactively for days the government is closed if Congress does not agree to vote on that reimbursement. 

Will applications to Medicare still be processed during a shutdown?
The processing of new Medicare applications will likely be delayed until after a shutdown is over. It is possible that a limited number could receive attention, but that would depend solely on the number of employees designated to remain on the job.

Will federally funded research continue?
Federally funded institutions, such as National Institutes of Health (NIH), would have to delay new clinical trials and would not be able to accept new patients into clinical centers during the government shutdown.

Learn more about the government shutdown and what it means for you by reading the following resources:

Wondering about a government shutdown? First thing to know: It all won’t disappear.
September 20 | Washington Post

After past shutdowns, Congress gave federal workers back pay. This time? Don’t count on it.
September 23 | Washington Post

8 Things To Know About A Government Shutdown
September 23 | NPR

Five Real Impacts of a Government Shutdown
September 21 | ABC News

Countdown to Shutdown – The Basics
September 24 |

10 ways a government shutdown would affect your daily life
September 24 | CNN


Date originally posted: September 27, 2013.