Since Saturday, January 20th the United States is facing a government shutdown as Congress failed to agree on a funding bill.  Democrats and Republicans continue to discuss the future of DACA, funding for CHIP and other department funding.  The government shutdown triggered automatic furloughs for government employees deemed non-essential.  Only a limited amount of federal agency’s employees will continue to work through the shutdown.  Government functions relating to emergency and disaster assistance, criminal investigation, air traffic control, protection of federal property and other tasks essential to ensure continued public health and safety.

How Departments Will Work During Government Shutdown

The Internal Revenue Service

Being that it is tax season, the IRS has kept 43% or 35,076 employees on the job.  The IRS functions will include processing electronic returns, testing filing programs and computer operations to prevent loss of data.  The functions it will not perform are audits, return examinations, non-automate collections and issuing refunds.  If you are owed a refund for 2017 tax returns it will not be affected as the IRS will start accepting returns until January 29.


Defense Department issued statement that military personnel will continue working and military operations in places such as Afghanistan.  Military personnel will be paid unless the shutdown lasts past February 1st.  Personnel will work without pay until shutdown ends or if covered costs were agreed upon prior to government shutdown.

Veterans Affairs

Issues from a previous shutdown prompted the Veterans Health Administration to reserve enough funding to cover more than 335,000 employees expected to continue working.

Social Security

All Social Security checks will continue to go out and most of the Social Security Administration’s staff are exempt from furloughs.

Postal Service

All post offices will remain open and not affected by shutdown since it operates on its own revenue.

Justice Department

The Justice Department stated that criminal litigation will go on without any interruption.

Department of Education

The plan states no more than 6% of total staff will be called back to work if longer interruption occurs as 90% of 3,912 staff members are furloughed.

Housing and Urban Development

The Department of Housing and Urban Development employs about 7,800 people with 300 considered exempt from furloughs.  It will continue to provide essential services such as housing the homeless and emergency services to those with AIDS.

National Parks

Most national parks, recreation areas and monuments will stay open but rangers and staffers will not be on duty.