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2023 Potential Government Shutdown

A government shutdown, whether partial or full, impacts a variety of services and programs. If there is a shutdown, authorities will still enforce laws, respond to emergencies, and maintain our nation's defense; however, there will be impacts to many peoples' daily lives. This page will be continually updated with resources and guidance from different agencies and departments to help you understand how a government shutdown could impact you or your family. 

Common Questions

Why does the government shut down? 

The government shuts down when Congress is unable to pass appropriations bills that finance the operations of federal agencies and programs. These bills are designed to fund the government until the conclusion of each fiscal year, which ends on September 30. If a new bill isn't enacted by this deadline, Congress needs to pass a temporary measure, known as a continuing resolution (CR), which sustains the government's funding at its current level. For instance, a CR passed this year would maintain funding at Fiscal Year 2023 levels. In the absence of an approved appropriations bill or a CR, the government faces a shutdown due to lack of authorized funding.

What government services and programs are impacted during a government shutdown and what effect does this have on the public? 

A government shutdown, whether partial or full, impacts a variety of services and programs. It would force hundreds of thousands of federal workers to be furloughed and impact national parks, nutrition assistance programs, housing assistance, Social Security and Medicaid benefits, veteran claims, and other services that people rely on.

What government service and programs remain uninterrupted during a shutdown?

During a government shutdown, essential services related to national security and public safety, like inpatient and emergency medical care, air traffic control, law enforcement, border security, disaster aid, and power grid maintenance, continue, though they may face disruptions.

What happens to federal employees during a shutdown? 

Federal employees from shut-down agencies are either furloughed—prohibited from work and unpaid—or required to work without pay if their roles are deemed essential to public safety. While Congress has traditionally approved retroactive payment for these employees once the government reopens, this does not prevent the immediate financial difficulties they face.

What is the impact of a government shutdown on the public and the U.S. economy? 

Shutdowns are detrimental to both the public, who face service and program disruptions, and federal employees, who are either furloughed or required to work without pay. Moreover, they pose a significant strain on government resources.


This page will be continually updated with resources and guidance from different agencies and departments to help you understand how a government shutdown could impact you or your family. 

Click here for continued updates from federal agencies regarding their operations during a potential government shutdown.

Federal Employees

I am a federal employee.  Will I receive back pay for furloughed days?

Yes. After the 2018-2019 partial shutdown, Congress passed the Government Employee Fair Treatment Act, which requires retroactive pay for furloughed employees following the end of a government shutdown. Generally, benefits such as health insurance continue during a shutdown furlough; however, federal employees may need to wait until they are returned to pay status before they can adjust their benefits.

The Office of Personnel Management's website also provides general guidance.

I am a government contractor. What should I expect?

Government facilities will be closed.  No new contracts or modifications will be issued, and there will be delays in the acquisition process for procurements.

I am a federal employee whose health insurance is under the Federal Employees Health Benefits program. Do I still have health care while there is a shutdown?

Health insurance coverage also continues during a shutdown for both furloughed and excepted employees. Agencies continue to process transactions for the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program, the Federal Employee, Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP), the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP) and the Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) during a lapse in appropriations, OPM said in its shutdown guidance.

I’m a federal employee who was furloughed. Is there any type of financial assistance available for me?

For additional assistance with medical bills, housing, food, and other expenses, please visit your local human services center or visit your county’s human services website. Your financial institution or credit union may offer loans at 0% to cover your living expenses during a shutdown. For more details, you can contact your local branch.

I’m a federal government retiree. Will I still receive my pension?

Yes. According to the OPM, federal retirees under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) will continue to receive their scheduled annuity payments on the first business day of the month. Effective on January 1, 1987, FERS includes most federal employees; the CSRS system generally covers federal workers hired before 1984.


Social Security

Will my Social Security payments be affected by the shutdown?

No. A shutdown does not impact payments of Social Security benefits, including Disability Income or Retirement Income. Social Security benefits are paid out of a trust fund that is not subject to Congressional appropriation and is considered mandatory spending. Benefit payments will still be disbursed, though in previous shutdowns benefit verification and card issuance services ceased. This can cause delays in recipients having their entitlement claims processed.

I lost my Social Security card. Can I request a replacement card?

Yes. The SSA will continue to issue original and replacement Social Security cards in the event of a government shutdown, but you should expect delays because of decreased staff capacity.

Will the Social Security office continue having hearings and receiving applications?

Yes. The SSA plans on continuing hearings and deciding cases as scheduled, as well as processing applications for benefits, including appointments, corrections, requests for appeals, and post-entitlement actions. 

For detailed guidance from the SSA on the potential lapse in Federal appropriations and resulting partial shutdown of agency operations, click here.


Health Care

If I receive my health care through Medicare, Medicare Advantage or Medicaid, can I still receive care?

Yes. Existing Medicare, Medicaid, and Medicare Advantage patients can still see their healthcare providers and those providers can continue to submit bills and receive payment for their services.

Will I be able to file a Medicare claim?

During the 2019 shutdown, there was no disruption in the processing and payment of Medicare claims.

Will Federally Qualified Health Centers continue operating?

Day-to-day operations will depend on the clinic’s individual funding and you should contact your preferred health center for further guidance.


Federal Assistance and Programs

How will a shutdown impact my federal student loans?

The U.S. Department of Education has stated that there could be some disruption to student aid and loan programs such as processing Free Applications for Federal Student Aid, FAFSA, disbursing Pell Grants and Federal Direct Student Loans and servicing Federal student loans. If you have federal student loans, you should continue to make your payments on time. Payments that were paused during the three-year payment pause will still resume in October.

Will I still be able to receive and use SNAP benefits/food stamps during a shutdown?

Yes, for now. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients should expect to receive their monthly allotment and retailers will continue to accept SNAP benefits. SNAP applications and the ability for employees at the U.S. Department of Agriculture to send out new benefits could be affected by a shutdown. If the shutdown lasts more than 30 days, there could be bigger impacts on the program.   

Can I still use WIC benefits during a shutdown?

Yes, for now. WIC has contingency funds that may continue at the state and local level only while resources remain available. Updates will be provided for Colorado-specific numbers.

My child is in Head Start. Will the shutdown affect it?

The White House stated approximately 10,000 children across the country would lose access to Head Start programs, as the Department of Health and Human Services would be unable to award federal grants to child-care centers. More information will be provided as is available.

I have questions and need assistance with my SNAP, WIC, and other benefits. Who should I contact?

Colorado administers many of its social services, including SNAP and WIC, by county, so you can visit your county’s website for more information:











Travel and Immigration

I am applying to renew my passport. Will its processing be impacted by the shutdown?

No. Consular operations domestically and abroad will remain 100% operational as long as there are sufficient fees to support operations. This includes passports, visas, and assisting U.S. citizens abroad.

If I have an interview or appointment with US Citizenship and Immigration Services, should I attend? Can I still apply for a visa?

Yes. USCIS is fee-funded, so it will likely remain open and continue to process applications. You should attend interviews and appointments as scheduled. Please call 1-800-375-5283 for additional information. However, the process may be delayed.

I have a pending application with USCIS. Will it continue to be processed?

During the 2018-2019 partial shutdown, USCIS continued to operate as usual, including accepting and adjudicating immigration-related applications and petitions. At this time, it is our understanding that a potential shutdown would most likely be handled similarly.

I have a flight this month. Will TSA and Air Traffic Controllers still be working?

Yes. Air traffic controllers, Customs and Border Patrol officers, and TSA officers will remain on the job, though some travel delays are possible.

Can I apply for Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Pre-Check and Global Entry?

During the 2018-2019 partial shutdown, TSA PreCheck applications were accepted. Global Entry appointments for enrollment, however, were canceled.

How will the shutdown impact international travel?

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials operating ports of entry are considered essential workers and will report to work. Ports of entry–including airports–will remain open, and inspection of noncitizens seeking to enter the U.S. will continue. In prior shutdowns, there have been some delays and long wait times at TSA checkpoints.

My family is planning a trip to DC this month. What buildings will be closed to visits and tours during a shutdown? If I booked a Capitol tour with your office, can I still visit the Capitol?

During a shutdown, almost all government buildings offering public tours – including the Smithsonian museums, the National Zoo, the Supreme Court, Library of Congress, White House, FBI Building, and the U.S. Capitol – will be closed to visitors. 

Veterans and Servicemembers

How will a shutdown affect servicemembers and their families?

Two million U.S. military personnel would remain on the job but be forced to work without pay, according to the U.S. Departments of Defense and Homeland Security. Some military training operations could be curtailed, which will impact our national security and our military’s readiness. Many civilian personnel, including military technicians, are likely to be furloughed.

I am a veteran. Can I still attend my VA hospital/clinic appointments?

Yes. All functions within the Veterans Health Administration and the Veterans Benefits Administration will continue.  However, veterans may be affected by the shutdown of other services that they count on, including education and job training, support for veteran-owned businesses, and even assistance for homeless veterans.

I am a veteran.  Will I receive my pension on time?

Yes. You will still receive your pension checks on time.

I am a disabled veteran.  Will I receive my benefits on time?

Yes. You will receive your disability benefits on time.

I am a veteran student who receives benefits under the GI Bill or the Veterans Educational Assistance Program. Will I continue to receive payments on time?

Yes. You will receive your GI Bill benefits on time.  If you are under the Veterans Educational Assistance Program, you will receive your payments on time, as well.  

Public Lands Parks and Forests

Will national parks be open during a shutdown?

Some National Parks may remain open during a shutdown. This will be updated with information specific to Colorado. 

Will national forests be open during a shutdown?
Some National forests may remain open during a shutdown. This will be updated with information specific to Colorado. 



How will a shutdown impact public health and safety?

A government shutdown would force the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to delay new clinical trials, potentially stalling critical medical research. Additionally, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) ability to conduct food safety inspections and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) ability to conduct workplace inspections would be limited. Finally, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) efforts to identify and clean up harmful contaminants in drinking water could be delayed.

Will I still be able to send and receive mail during a shutdown?

Yes. During a shutdown, the U.S. Postal Services’ operations will continue as normal, as their funding is self-sustaining.

I am a small business owner applying for a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan. Will a shutdown impact this process?

Yes. During a shutdown, the SBA will stop new loan approvals or provide Program support for the CDC 504 Loan Program, 7(a) Loan Program, and Microloan Program. Application processing and program support will also stop for several SBA activities like the 8(a) Business Development, All Small Mentor-Protégé, Women Owned Small Business Contracting, and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Contracting. 

Will the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) be operating if there is a natural disaster?

During prior shutdowns, most of FEMA's workforce was able to be dispatched to emergencies, but their funding source–the Disaster Relief Fund–is currently under extreme stress and in urgent need of additional funds.  Employees at FEMA are not expected to be put on furlough; however, limited funds may impact FEMA’s ability to respond fully to an emergency.  FEMA is currently limiting rebuilding projects in order to preserve funds for life-saving emergency responses.

I applied for a gun permit. Will this be processed?

No. Criminal enforcement and related operations will continue at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, but the processing of permit applications will not.