Congressman Scott Peters

Representing the 52nd District of California

Information on the Impact of a Government Shutdown

The information below provides information on the availability of services available during a government shutdown.


Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security:

Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other mandatory programs aren't affected for current beneficiaries. However, new claims or applications for Social Security would not be processed until the end of a shutdown.

Federal Workers:

 Nationwide about 800,000 federal employees will see their paychecks jeopardized or delayed. About 169,000 of those are in California and may include civilian defense contractors.

US military:

 The military's 1.4 million active-duty personnel will stay on duty, but barring the passage of any specific measures by Congress, their paychecks will be delayed. About half of the Defense Department's civilian employees will be furloughed.

National Parks and Museums:

All national parks and federal wildlife refuges would be closed for the duration of the shutdown. About 9 million visitors were turned away from parks, museums and monuments run by the National Park Service in the mid-1990s, the last time the government shut down temporarily. This includes Cabrillo National Monument in Point Loma. Further, businesses inside parks or near them that rely on visitor business will likely face revenue shortfalls and could be forced to out of business.


Nasa will furlough almost all of its employees, but it will continue to keep workers at Mission Control in Houston and elsewhere to support the International Space Station. The National Weather Service will keep forecasting weather and issuing warnings and the National Hurricane Center will continue to track storms.

Further, new patients will not be accepted at the National Institutes of Health, and research at the facility would be delayed. Also, the CDC's ability to identify outbreaks would be greatly limited.


Federal air traffic controllers will remain on the job and airport will continue to operate security checkpoints; delays are possible. Federal inspectors will continue enforcing safety rules.

The State Department will continue processing foreign applications for visas and US applications for passports, since fees are collected to finance those services. Delays, however are expected due to a shutdown. Embassies and consulates overseas will continue to provide services to American citizens.

Courts/Law Enforcement

Federal courts will continue to operate normally for about 10 business days after the start of a shutdown. If the shutdown continues after such a point, the judiciary would have to begin furloughs of employees whose work is not considered essential. Cases would continue to be heard, however, in such a case.

The US supreme court is scheduled to begin its new term on October 7. In previous government shutdowns, it continued to operate as normal.

The FBI and DEA would continue to operate, but the Justice Department might be forced to suspend cases and E-Verify programs would not be operated.


Deliveries would continue as usual because the US Postal Service receives no tax dollars for day-to-day operations. It relies on income from stamps and other postal fees to keep running.

Homeland security

The majority of the Department of Homeland Security's employees are expected to stay on the job, including uniformed agents and officers at the country's borders and ports of entry, members of the Coast Guard, Transportation Security Administration officers, Secret Service personnel and other law enforcement agents and officers. US Citizenship and Immigration Services employees will continue to process green card applications.

Veterans services

Most services offered through the Department of Veterans Affairs will continue. Veterans will still be able to visit hospitals for inpatient care, mental health counseling, or get prescriptions filled at VA health clinics. Operators will still staff the crisis hotline and claims workers would still process payments to cover disability and pension benefits.

Those veterans appealing the denial of disability benefits to the Board of Veterans Appeals will have to wait longer for a decision because the board would not issue any decisions during a shutdown. Further, educational, compensation, and pension benefit processing could be delayed.

Small Business

Applications for grants at the Small Business Adminstration would go unread until the end of a shutdown. California is home to nearly 700,000 small businesses.

Home Loans

Applications to the Federal Housing Administration, guarantor for about 30% of home mortgages, would not approve any new loan applications during a government shutdown.

Student Loans

Pell Grants and Direct Student loans would continue to be honored, however there may be disruptions and delays with support services. During a shutdown however, the Department of Education is not expected to issue any new award grants to campus-based programs.


Federal taxes would continue to be collected during a shutdown however processing for some refunds might not be processed until a shutdown ceased.