United States

What You Can and Can't Do During a Government Shutdown

Here’s a list of what you can and cannot do during a government shutdown

The looming shutdown of the federal government would affect the everyday lives of people across the country, regardless of whether they're government workers. 

Hundreds of thousands of federal workers would be off the job, military death benefits would be suspended and the Smithsonian museums would close. 

Here’s a list of what you can and cannot do during a government shutdown. We'll be adding to the list; if you know of something we've left off, email us and we’ll research it.

During a shutdown, you can:

Get Social Security benefits: Payments would continue to be issued, and the Social Security Administration says they do not expect delays to payments.

Visit a national park: The Department of the Interior will keep national parks open, but with reduced services.

Be paid if you're in the U.S. military: Congress has approved the Pay Our Military Act, a measure to continue to pay troops on time.

Visit a Veterans Affairs hospital: VA hospitals would remain open. 

Be protected by the FBI, Coast Guard and law enforcement agencies: Government functions essential to public safety would continue to operate.

Travel by air: Federal air traffic controllers and most Transportation Security Administration agents would continue to work. 

Cross the border: U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents would stay on the job.

Eat meat safely: Meat inspectors with the U.S. Department of Agriculture would continue to report to work because they're essential for public safety.

Watch for updates on Robert Mueller's investigation: The investigation is funded by Congress, not the Department of Justice.

Reopen the federal government: Representatives and Senators would remain on the job, but many staff members would be sent home.

Watch a Supreme Court argument: The highest court in the land would remain open.

During a shutdown, you can't:

Get military death benefits: Most military functions are covered under the Pay Our Military Act, but death benefits would likely stop until the government reopens.

Check the legal work status of an employee: The E-Verify system allows employers across the country to check on immigration status, but it's a federal website, which means it would be shut down.

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