Government Shutdown: How Will it Affect You?


Congress is again threatening to shutdown the government. Republicans and Democrats have yet to agree to an annual budget. The deadline for an agreement is 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 30. If an agreement is not reached, the government will be shutdown.

The Defense Department is shielded from certain aspects of the shutdown, but it is certainly not completely protected. Below are some basic answers to common questions that military members and their families are asking about the shutdown.

Editors Michael Hoffman and Amy Buschatz will hold a question and answer sessions with readers on's Facebook page at noon EST on Thursday for those with any further questions.

Will servicemembers get paid?

Servicemembers will receive their Oct. 1 pay checks even if a shutdown occurs because the checks are issued on Sept. 30. Then it depends how long the shutdown lasts. Payments could be delayed, especially for those who receive mid-month pay checks, if the shutdown lasts for an extended period. The government must reopen by Oct. 9 in order for mid-month checks to be issued. Congress must provide funding in order for troops and federal workers to be paid.

Should I show up to work on Tuesday?

If you are a servicemember, yes. If you are a civilian, yes. However, Defense Department civilians could be sent home. Active duty military members will not receive days off even in the case of a shutdown.

Will I continue to receive my GI Bill education benefits?

Stay in school. A government shutdown will not affect servicemembers’ education benefits as it’s not funded by annual appropriations.

Will retirees be paid?

A government shutdown will not halt retiree or survivor checks. Like GI Bill education benefits, the government does not use annual appropriations to fund these payments.

Will bases services shut down?

The commissaries on base could see reduced hours similar to when civilians were furloughed. Service officials said they expect to keep the Exchanges open. As for military housing, it depends on if you live on civilian owned housing or government owned and operated. The civilian operations will not be affected, but those living on the government owned housing could see services cut. Hours at golf courses and pools could also be reduced or closed.

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