This Is What The Government Shutdown Means For You

What a government shutdown means is “nonessential” government services are no longer being provided. Some agencies will be able to survive for a few weeks based on leftover money, but the longer this goes on, the less they’ll be able to do.

1. You still have to pay your taxes.

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The IRS will continue to collect taxes. The 12 million people who filed for an extension on their 2012 tax returns have until Oct. 15 to file.

2. But the IRS is canceling audit appointments.

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3. Financial aid will continue.

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Pell Grants and federal direct student loans will continue, but other functions of the U.S. Department of Education will come to a halt as more than 90% of the department’s employees are furloughed.

4. Other Department of Education functions will be affected the longer the shutdown continues.

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According to the Department of Education, a “delay in Department obligations and payments beyond one week would severely curtail the cash flow to school districts, colleges and universities, and vocational rehabilitation agencies that depend on the Department’s funds to support their services.”

5. You still have to pay your student loans.

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Sorry.

6. You’ll still get your mail.

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The U.S. Postal Service is an independent agency of the federal government. It hasn’t directly received taxpayer dollars since the 1980s.

7. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), air traffic control, and other airplane safety functions will continue.

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8. If you need to get a passport, you should do that ASAP.

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The State Department says it has some money outside of what Congress would have given them, and has said it will do as much as it can before it runs out of money. So if you need a passport, you should do that now.

9. Gun permit applications will be delayed.

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10. Same goes for if you have an invention you want to patent.

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The Patent and Trademark Office has enough funds to last for about four more weeks.

11. National parks and museums funded by the federal government will be shut down.

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State parks and private museums are still open.

12. The National Zoo is closed BUT the animals will still be fed and cared for.

13. There’s a chance furloughed workers could still get paid.

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But it’s nowhere near a guarantee. Congress voted to back-pay federal employees after the last shutdown but some have suggested this Congress may not be willing to do so.

14. But being furloughed generally doesn’t mean you can take another job.

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According to the Office of Personnel Management: “Executive branch-wide standards of ethical conduct and rules regarding outside employment continue to apply when an individual is furloughed (specifically, the executive branch-wide standards of ethical conduct (the standards), at 5 CFR part 2635). In addition, there are specific statutes which prohibit certain outside activities, and agency-specific supplemental rules that require prior approval of, and sometimes prohibit, outside employment.”

15. The Census Bureau is no longer collecting data.

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16. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will no longer operate its disease surveillance.

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18. However, there are other effects, such as the civilian Defense Department employees who will be furloughed, and care for veterans could be delayed.

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Read more about how the military is affected by the shutdown here.

19. Social Security payments will continue.

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20. Medicare and Medicaid will continue, but they could experience difficulties depending on how long the shutdown lasts.

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21. Washington, D.C., the actual city, will continue to function normally, if the mayor has anything to say about it.

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Vincent Gray, mayor of Washington, D.C., originally released a shutdown contingency plan that listed what services were essential and would continue during a shutdown. However, on Wednesday, in a letter to the Office of Management and Budget, he wrote that all D.C. government operations were essential.

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