Just in case you’ve been living under a rock these last few days… yes, the government shutdown is still on, and yes, it’s still affecting the majority of non-essential services. But that doesn’t mean everything is affected – including the collection of tax returns and a long list of other services. Here’s what you can expect to continue on as normal in the coming weeks (and potentially, months).
- Tax Refunds: Yes, the government will still require that you submit a tax return and pay them anything you owe by the usual date. Expect to collect and file your return no later than April 15, but you can start filing as early as January 28th this year to compensate for the shutdown. The IRS has also said that refunds WILL be issued as usual.
- Airport Security: No, those pesky TSA agents aren’t just going to up and disappear during the shutdown. Airport security agents are considered essential services; if you’re traveling, be sure to plan around getting through checkpoints.
Something else: several news media outlets are also reporting that TSA agents are calling in sick so they can go work elsewhere. Of course, the TSA is denying it… but maybe expect some holdups when you travel.
- National and State Parks: Yes, you can still enjoy time in the great blue yonder, even in the government shutdown. Most national and state parks are open and accepting visitors with a few exceptions, as are most museums.
The one caveat is that some parks were forced to close after irresponsible visitors trashed the place. There’s no-one cleaning up right now, so toilets and trails are quickly becoming littered with trash. If you decide to go for a hike, take a bag with you and haul out a few offending pieces of trash. The Earth will thank you!
- The Center for Disease Control (CDC): If a zombie outbreak happens to occur during the shutdown, don’t panic; the CDC is still active and working. Because of the role they play in epidemics and pandemics, they are considered essential services. Ditto for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
- Social Security: On Social Security, or know someone who is? Rest assured; your payments will still flow in on time. While the Social Security department itself isn’t considered an essential service, this area of government was already funded back in September. SSI payments will remain in place, as will processing of cases, until at least the end of the fiscal year.
- Most Law Enforcement: No, law enforcement isn’t going to stop working because of the government shutdown. This includes the FBI, local police, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the prison system, and yes, Customs and Border Protection, too. Likewise for the Coast Guard and the Secret Service. All remain at the ready to protect our country and the good citizens within it.
The caveat? While law enforcement agencies are still a go, courts may or may not be in progress. Federal and state case processing has slowed to a crawl in some areas – especially surrounding immigration.
Ultimately, most government services that directly impact the health and safety of Americans are still open and running as normal. Anything non-essential may or may not be up and running, so you should expect temporary delays. Let’s all hope Dems agree to give Trump the money he needs to protect our country real soon.