Congress failed to pass a spending bill Friday, causing the government shut down at midnight. Read below to see if the government services you depend on are suspended.


Some disaster-recovery efforts

Many government research operations

Most federal office buildings


Social Security and other government benefits

Medicare and Medicaid

U.S. Postal Service

Special counsel Mueller’s Russia investigation

Local parks, schools, libraries and city government buildings


Federal prisons

Veteran’s hospitals

Federal courts


IRS customer service

Federal financial aid

Food inspection



National parks and monuments

Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo

National Zoo panda cam

Passport office

Military operations

Federal service academy athletics

We’re looking at five broad categories of services: Benefits, government facilities, recreation, travel and shipping and other.


Social Security and other government benefitsopen

Recipients of Social Security, SSI, unemployment insurance, TANF, food stamps and some other programs will continue to receive benefits. The programs’ spending is not dependent on Congress’s explicit funding. However, some processes related to applying for or appealing these benefits may be stopped.

Medicare and Medicaidopen

In the last shutdown, some physician payments were slightly delayed, but the programs continued running.

Veteran’s hospitalsopen

Congress has already explicitly funded veteran’s hospitals, so they aren’t affected by the shutdown. However, the processing of new disability benefit claims will slow.

Government Facilities

Local parks, schools, libraries and city government buildingsopen

Since these entities are controlled locally and not by the federal government, they are not affected by the shutdown.

Federal prisonsopen

Congress has already explicitly funded prisons, so they aren’t affected by the shutdown.

Federal courtsopen

The courts have at least three more weeks of funding after a government shutdown.


Congress will continue to work, though some low-level staff may not get paid.

Most federal office buildingsclosed

Most departments and agencies will be shut down, and the employees sent home. Read more


National parks and monumentsmaybe

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney declared the parks will stay open during a shutdown at Friday’s White House news briefing. But on Saturday roughly a third of NPS sites closed. The National Parks Conservation Association warned that the shutdown’s impact would vary depending on the particular park. Read more

Smithsonian museums and the National Zoomaybe

In a Saturday statement, the Smithsonian announced it has enough prior year funds to stay open through at least Monday. No matter what happens after that, the animals will still be fed. Read more

National Zoo panda cammaybe

Unfortunately, if the zoo closes, so will the panda cam. Read more

Federal service academy athleticsmaybe

The Air Force Academy has canceled all athletic events until further notice. But Navy says they have enough funding to keep their department running. Read more

Travel and Shipping

U.S. Postal Serviceopen

The U.S. Postal Service is an independent agency, so it is not affected by the government shutdown.

Passport officemaybe

Some passport offices will likely remain open. Those located inside federal buildings will close.


Air traffic controllers, TSA officers and customs agents will continue to work at airports.


Amtrak is only partially funded by the government and “will continue normal operation” during a “short-term” government shutdown, a spokesperson said on Friday.


Special counsel Mueller’s Russia investigationopen

The probe’s funding is approved by Congress outside of the normal government funding process, so it will not be affected by the shutdown.

Military operationsmaybe

Active-duty troops will continue to work, though some training exercises would cease. Read more

IRS customer serviceopen

Automated processes will continue, but most processes that require people, such as providing customer service, will close. The call center will remain open since filing season has begun.

Some disaster-recovery effortsclosed

Some long-term responses to hurricanes, wildfires and mudslides will pause.

Federal financial aidopen

Though 90 percent of Education Department staff will be sent home, people assigned to federal financial aid will continue working.

Food inspectionopen

USDA inspection of meat, poultry and eggs will continue.

Many government research operationsclosed

Some government research projects, such as geological and weather research, will cease. Non-governmental organizations that already received government grants, however, will not be affected by the shutdown.

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Source: List compiled from government shutdown plans and news reports. Promo photo from Kevin Lamarque/Reuters. Originally published Jan. 19, 2018.

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