A U.S. government shutdown began October 1, 2013, in which an estimated 800,000 federal employees have been furloughed for an undetermined amount of time while the remaining "essential" 1.3 million federal employees will continue to work despite the government shutdown. For those who are just hearing about the U.S. government shutdown and furloughed employees, they may feel overwhelmed, wonder who is affected and for how long. Although it is not an extensive listing, we've pulled together a few answers to prominent questions concerning the U.S. government shutdown of 2013, while also providing links to more information for those who may need it.
WATCH: Government Shutdown 2013: Obama Speaks On Government Shutdown
7 Things To Know About U.S. Government Shutdown 2013 And Furloughed Federal Employees
Which Jobs or Agencies Have Been Affected By the Government Shutdown
The government shutdown will affect a wide variety of federal job holders and government agencies as we see nearly one million federal employees sent home. Here is how government jobs and agencies have been affected.
Medical question hotlines have been shut down
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will not run the seasonal flu program
No extra money for housing vouchers will go out though there is enough money reserved to make it through the month of October
Verification of legal immigration status cannot be check by prospective employers as the Department of Homeland Security's E-Verify program will be shut down
FBI and the Drug Enforcement Agency will continue to operate, however, Justice Departmentwill suspend many civil cases.
Parks and museums:
Over 400 national parks and museums will be shut down. These include major landmarks such as Yosemite National Park, Alcatraz, and the Statue of Liberty.
Though there will be staff available to ensure benefits checks are mailed, tasks such as replacing benefits cards or scheduling new hearings will not happen during the government shutdown.
Visas and passports:
Passport agencies will remain open for the time being.
Will Military Pay Be Delayed Because Of The Government Shutdown?
On Monday evening, a bill was signed by President Barack Obama that will keep military pay intact regardless of the government shutdown. Though it was speculated that the military could see a delay on their Oct. 15, 2013 pay check, it appears the new bill which passed unanimously in the Senate, called "The Pay Our Military Act" protects all pay and allowances for members of the Armed Forces. Therefore, all active duty military members and their families have nothing to fear about their pay being delayed during the government shutdown.
Will The VA Close Due To 2013 Government Shutdown?
VA hospitals will remained open though some services will be unavailable. For example, the Veterans Benefits Administration won't process education and rehabilitation benefits or hold hearings.
Will Retired Military Get Paid During US Government Shutdown 2013?
Depending on how long the government shutdown lasts, retired military pay could be affected. If the government shutdown lasts more that three weeks, the Department of Veterans Affairs may have to stop disability claims and pension payments for around 3.6 million veterans.
Will Furloughed Government Employees Receive Back Pay?
While on Tuesday furloughed government employees headed to their offices to get things in order until they are allowed to return to work, the question looms: Will furloughed government employees receive back pay? The answer at this point is unknown. As this is a matter decided by the Congress no clear plan had yet been established to pay back the federal employees who were furloughed due to the government shutdown. Many government employees were already been required to go on furlough earlier this year for as much as a week and have yet to see repayment for that time away from work. This is in addition to government pay freezes and increased retirement contribution costs. For those who went to work today, they are there without pay as paychecks are being delayed until some solution is worked out.
Can Furloughed or Excepted Government Employees Use Vacation Time Or Sick Leave?
The answer here is no. "Excepted" employees should do their best to remain healthy as if they have to leave due to sickness, jury duty, or any other reason they will be placed in a furlough status without pay until they return.
Will Food Stamps, WIC or School Lunch Be Affected By Government Shutdown?
The SNAP or federal food stamp assistance programs will continue to operate despite the government shutdown as they have money in reserve from the Recovery Act which will not expire for another year. The same is true of school lunch programs. They are also expected to continue despite the federal government shutdown. As to WIC — the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children — the future is uncertain. No funds from the federal government would be provided for administration, though the program is run by individual states so some funds may still be available there during the government shutdown.
Do you have more questions about the US government shutdown of 2013 and how it affects American citizens? Share them with us in the comments below.