Your Guide to Staying Informed During the 2023 Federal Government Shutdown
As your Congressman, I’m committed to working with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to advance the bipartisan legislation required to prevent a costly and harmful government shutdown.
Although I’m doing everything in my power to keep the government running for hardworking families, seniors and members of the military in Northeast Pennsylvania, it appears we’re still headed for a shutdown at midnight on Oct. 1st.
To help you plan, my office has prepared answers to your frequently asked questions below.
And regardless of a government shutdown, my offices will remain open to assist you.
If you are a constituent of Pennsylvania’s 8th Congressional District and need help with a federal agency, please contact the office closest to you, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
We’re here to help.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will I continue to receive my Social Security and SSI checks?
Recipients will continue to receive their Social Security and SSI checks. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will provide limited services like issuing Social Security cards and holding appointments for benefit applications. However, SSA will stop services like benefit verifications and processing overpayments. Customer service wait times may increase.
Will Medicare and Medicaid benefits be affected?
Current Medicare, Medicaid, and disability insurance beneficiaries will continue to receive their benefits assuming a shutdown lasts less than three months.
What happens to veterans' services?
All Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities and clinics will remain operational, including the Wilkes-Barre Veteran’s Medical Center. Veterans Affairs will continue to process veterans’ benefits. However, veterans will 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.
What is the impact on U.S. military personnel and federal law enforcement?
All active-duty and Guard and Reservists on active-duty orders are excepted and therefore are required to work without pay. On-base, non-acute health care will cease, although off-base care provided through Tricare will not be affected. On-base childcare will be open on a case-by-case basis. Federal law enforcement will also be required to work without pay for the duration of a shutdown.
Will military and federal retiree benefits be suspended?
Military and federal retirees will continue to receive their retirement benefits. Processing new applications or other requested changes will be delayed.
What is the impact on food assistance?
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) will quickly run out of funding and be unable to provide food for children and parents in need. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will continue, at least for the month of October. If the shutdown extends past October, there will be serious consequences to SNAP.
Will my mail still arrive?
Yes. The U.S. Postal Service is not affected by a shutdown.
Will air travel be affected?
Air traffic controllers, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers, and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents will remain on the job without pay. If some do not report to work, as has happened in prior shutdowns, there will be significant delays and longer wait times across the country.
What does this mean for disaster relief efforts?
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) staff will still respond to emergencies, but all long-term projects will be delayed due to a lack of funding in the Disaster Relief Fund.
What is the impact on food safety activities?
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) food safety activities — such as routine inspections of facilities — will be delayed across the country.
What is the impact on housing?
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will stop insuring some new mortgages and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will stop processing some new loans. The Department of Agriculture (USDA) will stop new loan and loan guarantee activity. The VA will continue to guarantee home loans. Funding for federal housing assistance programs, such as Housing Choice Vouchers, may be jeopardized in a prolonged shutdown.
How will this affect small businesses?
The Small Business Administration (SBA) will stop processing new business loans, such as through the 7(a) and 504 programs. However, SBA’s Disaster Loan Program will continue regular operations.
How will Northeastern Pennsylvania farms be impacted?
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) would be forced to stop processing farm loans used to help our local farmers and ranchers in Northeastern Pennsylvania get the help they need to start, expand and maintain their family farms. These family farms help feed the country and are vital to our state’s economy.
What does this mean for medical research?
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) will be forced to delay new clinical trials. New patients who are waiting for a chance at new treatment through a clinical trial will be turned away.
Will I still be able to visit National Parks and monuments?
Services that require National Park Service staff — including trash removal and operating campgrounds and concessions — will be stopped, affecting the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.
Indoor facilities like the Steamtown National Historic Site will be closed until the shutdown ends.
How does this affect passports and help for Americans overseas?
Consular services, passport services, and visa services are expected to continue in the immediate aftermath of a government shutdown. In a prolonged shutdown, passport and visa issuance could be slowed. Access to passport agencies located in some government buildings may be limited.
What is the impact on state and local services?
The federal government shutdown will not immediately affect any state or local services. However, with federal funding cut off, some state or local governments may have to change their operations. Check with state and local agencies for specific questions.
What if I'm planning a visit to Washington, D.C.?
In the event of a federal government shutdown, the buildings and facilities below will NOT be open for tours or public visitation:
- The Capitol Building and Capitol Visitors Center
- The White House
- The Library of Congress
- The Smithsonian Museums
- The National Zoo
- The U.S. Botanical Garden
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation
- National Park Service-managed monuments and parks, including but not limited to:
- The Lincoln Memorial
- The Washington Monument
- The Roosevelt Memorial
- The Jefferson Memorial
If you booked a tour through my office and wish to reschedule, please contact my D.C. office at (202) 225-5546 or email email@example.com