Press Releases

Government Shutdown – What it Means to You

Washington, October 1, 2013

As of October 1st the Federal Government is shut down until a continuing resolution or other funding bill can be approved by both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate and then signed by President Obama. While these negotiations continue, Congressman Simpson provided the following information about how personal offices will be staffed and answers to Frequently Asked Questions about how the shutdown impacts the lives of Americans.

Congressman Simpson has deemed three staff essential in Idaho and three in Washington DC. Constituents are encouraged to contact him through his official website. Simpson is maintaining limited services in his Washington, DC, and Boise offices and has closed his offices in Twin Falls, Pocatello, and Idaho Falls.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Government Shutdown:
During a federal government shutdown, it is up to the executive branch to determine which essential activities will continue, therefore the information below should be considered as guidance but may be subject to change. Many departments and agencies have provided guidance on operations during a shut down on their websites, if you have additional questions, visit those sites.

Q – Will I continue to receive my mail?
A – Yes. The U.S. Postal service functions as an independent organization.

Q – Will I continue to get my Social Security benefits?
A – Yes. Social Security is considered a “mandatory” program and is not dependent on appropriations to continue dispensing benefits. However, the Social Security Administration is impacted, but it is believed they would be sufficiently staffed to ensure payments are continued to be made.

Q – Will the IRS continue to collect taxes?
A – Yes. All payments can still be processed.  However, it is possible that refunds could be delayed and all audit activities by the IRS will be suspended.

Q – Can I go to a national park?
A – No. The National Park Service has closed entrances and told all visitors to leave.  Anyone already in the parks will have to leave within two days.

Q – Will museums in Washington, D.C. be closed?
A – Yes. The Smithsonian, Archives, National Zoo, Holocaust Museum and monuments are closed to the public.

Q – Will food safety inspections occur?
A – Safety related inspections will continue, but some investigations into violations could be impacted.

Q – Will a shutdown stop the implementation of Obamacare?
A – No. The state-run exchanges will open as scheduled. Similar to Social Security and Medicare, most of the funding for the exchanges is mandatory funding not impacted by appropriations.

Q – Will I still receive unemployment benefits or food stamps?
A – Yes. The Employment and Training Administration has said it will provide essential functions, including dispensing unemployment benefits.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture has said SNAP (food stamps) is funded for another year.

Q – Can I receive WIC benefits?
A – No money is available to pay for the administrative costs of WIC at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.   However, states do administer the program, so funding may be available.

Q – Will the federal school lunch program stay in effect?
A – The U.S. Department of Agriculture has said that most schools will be able to provide meals through October.

Q – Will airports stay open?
A – The Transportation Security Administration has said passengers should see little change at security.  There are furloughs at TSA but essential employees will continue to work.

Q – Will federal prisons, border patrol, emergency medical facilities, law enforcement and disaster response continue functioning?
A – Yes. Any employee who is considered to be essential to protecting life and property will remain in place.

Q – Will troops be paid?
A – Yes. Congress passed legislation Monday to ensure members of the armed forces get paid on time as normal.  Furloughed civilian workers won’t be paid unless Congress passes legislation restoring lost income when the shutdown ends.

Q – Will veterans continue receiving compensation for service related wounds or injuries?
A – Yes, but the VA has said it only has enough money to compensate veterans for the rest of October.  The VA has also said burial benefits, headstones and death notices will remain available.