What does a government shutdown mean for New Hampshire?

One of the most basic duties of Congress is to fund the government and keep it open, serving the American people. Unfortunately, extreme House Republicans are refusing to work with Democrats to pass a bipartisan agreement to fund the government, hurtling us toward a shutdown.

While I continue reaching across the aisle to work with reasonable Republicans to come to a bipartisan agreement to prevent a shutdown and protect our economy, I wanted to share a few resources and answer questions to help you prepare and stay informed.

If you have any questions or need assistance, please reach out to my Concord office at (603) 226-1002, my DC office at (202) 225-5206, or on this page of my website.

Please check back for ongoing updates regarding a potential government shutdown. To see updated guidance on what federal agencies are open or impacted by a government shutdown, click here.

Will I continue to receive my Social Security and SSI checks?

Yes. 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 will dramatically increase.

Will Medicare and Medicaid benefits be affected?

No. 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. The VA will continue to process veterans’ benefits. However, veterans will be affected by the shutdown of other services they count on, including education and job training, support for veteran-owned businesses, and assistance for homeless veterans. Learn more about the impact of a government shutdown on the VA here.

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 expected 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 child care 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?

No. Military and federal retirees will continue to receive their retirement benefits. Processing new applications or other requested changes will be delayed.

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.

How will this affect environmental protection and cleanup?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will stop inspecting most hazardous waste sites, as well as drinking water and chemical facilities. Efforts to address dangerous contaminants like PFAS — which are linked to severe health effects, including cancer — will be delayed, and cleanup activities at Superfund sites will slow or cease.

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. In the case of a prolonged shutdown, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits may also be affected.

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.

Will my mail still arrive?

Yes. The U.S. Postal Service is not affected by a shutdown.

Will I still be able to visit National Parks and monuments?

Across the country, services that require National Park Service staff — including trash removal and operating campgrounds and concessions — may be stopped. Closures will be determined on a location-by-location basis; open-air parks and monuments in Washington, D.C., will likely remain accessible. A lengthy shutdown may also impact Smithsonian museums.

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 will happen to student loan assistance and federal Head Start programs?

The U.S. Department of Education has stated that student aid and loan programs could be disrupted, including processing Free Applications for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) applications, disbursing Pell Grants and Federal Direct Student Loans and servicing Federal student loans. Thousands of children across the country would lose access to Head Start programs.

Do furloughed federal employees get back pay?

Yes. The Government Employee Fair Treatment Act, signed into law in 2019, guarantees that furloughed government employees receive backpay once a shutdown ends. However, federal contractors impacted are not guaranteed back pay.