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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.

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Financial aid will continue.

Joe Raedle / Getty

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.

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

Chris Hondros / Gettry

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.”


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

Sandy Huffaker / Getty

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.


There's a chance furloughed workers could still get paid.

Larry Downing / Rueters

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.

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

Bruce Bennett / Getty

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."


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

Paula Bronstein / Getty

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


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

Bruce Bennett / Getty

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.

And yes, there will continue to be laws.

NFL Johnson


The gov shut down . No laws.

/ Via

John Ford


Woohoo! Shutdown! No laws! Yeah!

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I've broken 3 laws already today. #shutdown

Alexander West


I've broken 3 laws already today. #shutdown

/ Via

Contact Hunter Schwarz at

Jacob Fischler is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, D.C.

Contact Jacob Fischler at

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