Tag: government shutdown

Ready for the November 18 government shutdown?

Headstart will be one of the September 30 government shutdown victims.

Update: Several weeks ago we started this Advisory with comments about what might happen to FEMA — and to the rest of us! — if Congress couldn’t agree on appropriations for 2024. The magic date for that Advisory was September 30. Today, we seem to be right back in the same situation, with a deadline approaching on November 18 — in five days!

As I write this, details remain unclear as the Republican-led house tries to come up with their plan. Today, they seem to be promoting a “stepped plan,” with some services shutting down first and others shutting down later. It’s not clear what will be decided upon.

What we can assume, however, is that if the government does shut down, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees and federal air traffic controllers will be working without pay just as the busy Thanksgiving travel season begins. In fact, this is anticipated to be the busiest travel period since Covid!

So, if you’re among the 4.7 million people expecting to fly during the Thanksgiving holiday, BE PREPARED for just about any airline-related emergency!

Airline delays aren’t the only thing to watch out for. But we don’t know what the final Republican Plan will be, so I can’t give you specific recommendations. What I recommend is reviewing this Advisory, perhaps again, and then watching the news closely to see which various services will be impacted, in what order.

Here’s a review of what we know about government shutdowns.

Some government services will continue; some will continue for a while before they run out of money. Some will stop pretty much immediately after September 30. The following summary will give you an idea of how this shutdown might impact your family and your community.

What will happen to family income if you work for the government?

Every government agency has a contingency plan for the shutdown – and they have been instructed to dust them off starting tomorrow. But different agencies manage things differently. “Essential workers” (like air traffic controllers and border patrol) will stay at work. Others, like food inspectors or law enforcement trainers, will likely be furloughed (laid off temporarily) starting immediately.

All these employees will have to wait until the shutdown ends in order to get reimbursed. Yes, they WILL get paid eventually . . . but will have to manage without a paycheck for as long as the shutdown lasts.

Do you fit into one or another of these federal employee categories?

How about if your work depends on federal government contracts? You are NOT guaranteed back pay. Consider all the infrastructure construction jobs and the high-tech chip manufacturing sites that are just getting underway, with workers waiting to get hired . . . The September 30 government shutdown will stop many of these projects in their tracks.

What about housing programs?

Apparently, most employees — more than 80%! — of the Department of Housing and Urban Development will be sent home. Monthly programs like subsidies and voucher programs will continue only as long as current funding remains available. New applications for housing-related programs may be delayed – including processing of FHA loans.

Young kids may feel the shutdown first!

As the header image suggests, Head Start, Early Head Start and free and low-cost school meal programs will collapse very quickly after the September 30 government shutdown. If parents are suddenly out of a job, then more kids would become eligible – but have nowhere to go!

Impact Aid programs fund educational programs on military bases and Native American reservations. This money will stop, too.

Not all programs for children will stop immediately. Money for WIC (Woman, Infants and Children) as well as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) have contingency funds that will carry over after the shutdown. State or local governments that help fund these programs may be able to continue to support them.

But how long support will continue depends on how long the shutdown continues. At some point, the money will run out.

What can we count on to continue even during the shutdown?

If you are one of the 67 million Americans drawing social security every month, you can breathe a little easier. Social Security and SSI (Supplemental Security Income) are funded through permanent appropriations, so they don’t have to go through this annual program funding exercise.

It looks as though Veterans’ Administration programs will continue, too, but with delays.

And if you are a member of congress, you’ll get your paycheck without interruption.

What preparations can we make before the shutdown?

I did the research for this overview article because I had questions for myself – about our income, about the school programs where I’m a crossing guard, about possible medical coverage changes. (Negotiations for lower drug prices will apparently be stopped dead.)

Here in our house, if there are slow-downs and even shutdowns when it comes to food, we have plenty in storage. If drinking water inspections stop (which they will), and our water supply is questionable, we have plenty of pure or purifiable stored water. We don’t have children in pre-school centers and we’re not planning a trip to a national park (which will likely be closed). We don’t have loan applications outstanding with the Small Business Administration. The list goes on . . .!

Are you clear about what to expect starting next week if the government does shut down? Do you have a plan in place to . . .

  • Deal with financial delays or income disruption?
  • Cope with lags in medical services or medicines?
  • Have an appropriate stockpile of food for the family, including pets, if food deliveries are interrupted?
  • Manage day-care for children whose pre-school or after-school care has closed?
  • Arrange business travel if airline flights are delayed?
  • Help other family members whose paychecks may stop immediately?

Don’t count on this article to have identified everything that could happen! Consider these three specific recommendations for immediate action.

  1. Check with your employer to see if the company has contingency plans for a “political emergency.”
  2. Search out and follow news sources for more information! (I found excellent articles at Politico.com and AmericanProgress.org among others. Just about every major news outlet is filled with good info right now.)
  3. Revisit your personal emergency preparedness plan to be sure you’re ready for the most likely results of a government shutdown.

Start today. Because it does seem that we are being led right into what could be a nightmare scenario.

Your Emergency Plan Guide team

P.S. If you feel you need a quick refresher, click here to take a look at our basic and our expanded lists of emergency supplies. We update them pretty regularly.