How the Government Shutdown Impacts Military Family Services


Although a government shutdown seems to be a serious threat every year, it isn't often that it actually happens. But this year is different.

As of midnight on Jan. 19, the government went into shutdown mode for the first time since 2013 -- and that has some major repercussions for the services on which military family members rely.

So what's the deal? Here's what we know.


Paychecks & PCS

Go over here to my news story for all the details on that stuff, including retiree pay and Department of Veterans Affairs disability pay.


Medical Care

Seen on base? Unless it's an emergency or an inpatient hospital service, your appointment is probably going to be canceled. Give your clinic a buzz to be sure or watch for specific information from your local base.

Seen off base? You won't be impacted. All Tricare functions will continue without interruption (although whether or not the Defense Health Agency civilian public affairs staff is working and can answer my many questions if the shutdown continues remains to be seen).


DoDEA Schools

If your child attends a DoDEA school on base, class will still be in session. But extracurricular activities, including sports, will be canceled.


Childcare Centers

If your child goes to daycare at an on-base Child Development Center (CDC) you'll want to check for closures. Some centers will remain open, while others will likely close on a case-by-base basis, officials said. The best thing to do is call.



Because commissaries are staffed by federal workers, they close during a shutdown ... unless they are seen as "essential."

That means in the case of all but stores overseas and a handful in the U.S. -- including two stores in Guam, a store in Puerto Rico, and commissaries at Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center Bridgeport and Fort Irwin in California; Coast Guard Station Kodiak and Fort Greely in Alaska; and Dugway Proving Ground, Utah -- all commissaries will shutter by Tuesday evening.

Until then locations will remain open, but they will not receive new shipments or restock shelves. Let's put it this way: if you simply must buy your groceries at the commissary, you better head over there today.



Because of the way the Exchange system is funded, those stores are not impacted by a government shutdown. That means gas stations and shoppettes as well as the main stores will stay open for the duration of the shutdown.


MWR Activities

Whether or not a given MWR program is open is going to depend on how it's funded. The best thing to do is to check with your local base to see if the service you want to use is available during the shutdown. For example, during the last shutdown many base libraries closed, but some base bowling alleys remained open.


Family Advocacy & Family Support Centers

Whether or not these are open will vary by base. Check with your local installation for how things are going to operate where you are.


Military OneSource

All Military OneSource programs -- including career and non-medical counseling -- will continue. That's because those services are paid by an already funded contract.


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