Is The Post Office Open? And 9 Other Questions About The Government Shutdown

What's open, what's not

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The federal government shut down Tuesday morning amid congressional gridlock, the first shutdown in 17 years. But what does that actually mean? Here are some practical answers to which government services are still available — and which ones aren’t.

1. Is the Post Office open?

Yes, and operating as usual, so no excuses for paying your October rent late.

2. Will my cousin in the Navy still get paid?

Yes, all military personnel will continue getting paychecks.

3. Will I still be able to take my children on a forced march of Yosemite National Park?

No, Yosemite and other national parks are closed, your kids will have to watch TV instead.

4. Did the IRS close with the government? 

No, so don’t even think about not paying taxes. They did close the office that answers taxpayer questions, though.

5. Is anybody checking to see if our food is dangerous?

Only meat, it’s open season on the rest of the food inspection system.

6. Can I still get a flu shot? 

Not from the CDC, its annual influenza program has been shut down. You’ll have to go to a doctor or a pharmacy.

7. When I get the flu, can I still get treatment through Medicare?

Yes, and also you can get treatment through Obamacare if you join the enrollment that starts today.

(MORE: What The Shutdown Means For Your  Health)

8. Is anybody doing background checks on transportation security personnel? 

No, routine security background checks will be suspended. But the TSA will still search you at the airport.

9. Can I get a passport?

Technically yes, but it may be difficult, as some of the buildings passport offices operate in are closed.

10. Can I become a meth kingpin?

No, the DEA is still open, so no going Walter White.

16 comments
BrianParent
BrianParent

After seeing NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake Testifies Before EU Parliament Committee, they shouldn't be shutting down, they should be running off the face of this planet! 

BethMaziarz
BethMaziarz

Many services on military posts have been suspended. The Commissary is closed indefinitely and we are having a very difficult time getting appointments at the doctors offices on the base. It doesn't sound like a big deal to some, but the nearest grocery store to here is 20 miles away, and Tricare doesn't authorize us to use civilian health care providers if military providers are technically "available." This shutdown is a big hassle for military families.

JimGiese
JimGiese

so what exactly did we lose that we can't get along without? they say the GOP is afraid of the shutdown, but all I see is the worthless parts of the feral government shutting down, and that the people will see exactly how much we really don't need them.

JackKinnerly
JackKinnerly

BTW, IRS audits are suspended.  Who tends to need those?

JackKinnerly
JackKinnerly

So the Tea Party succeeded in getting us "thrown into the briar patch."


Remember in the story how Briar Rabbit goth the farmer to throw him into the briar patch by pretending it was a horrible place, rather than his home warren, where he could safely escape the farmer?

The only things the Tea Party has shut down are things that the Tea Party wanted shut down all along.

Sure, they want other government functions shut down as well, but these are crafted to endure, just like the sequester cuts.

Today's stock market seems to agree.

VintageResearch
VintageResearch

Question 7... really? Obamacare signup starts today, it can't be used until 2014

yogi
yogi

Question 8 is a really odd thing to ask. Do people often ask TSA agents when their last back ground check was done? I'd think that would lead to a longer pat down.

FrankieFullerton
FrankieFullerton

@JimGiese Pretty naive, if you're serious. I can't even begin to list the repercussions of a longterm shutdown. One near the top of the list, however, would be the credit rating of the US. Tremendous debt notwithstanding, the US government has never once in its history defaulted on a loan. This is why the dollar is still the favored currency worldwide. If that situation ever changes, there would be no turning back. Suffice it to say life would never be the same again in the USA. In the short-term, there are really scary implications as well. There are people at this very moment waiting for experimental medical procedures to save their lives, and the funding is being suspended. How would it make you feel if you or your child were in a life or death situation, and our government just does nothing, mostly out of spite. The bottom line is this: The Affordable Health Care Act is law, approved by Congress, the same as every other law. If the Congress wants to change or repeal the law, our system has a protocol for that. However, to hold the country hostage because they have decided they don't like the law after the fact is the wrong way to act. Fund the program according to the law, then see if you have the support to change it. If you don't, then allow the American people to vote in an administration that will support repealing ObamaCare.

snydjos
snydjos

Banks can't fund mortgages without the IRS. If this goes on for too long, there won't be any new mortgages.

racerkoi
racerkoi

@JimGiese Your "worthless parts of the government" may be services valued by the next man.  Like, say, repair of roadways savaged by recent flooding in Colorado?

safari
safari

@VintageResearch That's right, they want the millions of individuals to have time to get entered in the system.

auronlu
auronlu

@VintageResearch Golly gee. If I sign up today for better health coverage than I could get before at half the price, I'll have to wait all of 3 months for it to kick in. How awful.

Waiting three months is so horrible for people with no coverage.

And golly, after having to spend over $400 a month on minimal health coverage because I have arthritis -- even though I treat it myself totally with OTC meds, and haven't gone to a doctor for it in years -- I'm just so heartbroken that I'm going to be getting better coverage starting in 2014 for $127.

How Stalinist! 

The "Death Camps" are the Republican states that have opted out of Obamacare. Those are the only states now where people can be denied health care. 

racerkoi
racerkoi

@VintageResearch That's right.  Sign up for your reduced rate health insurance today...actual coverage starts on January 1, 2014 (90 days from now).  Why do you see this as a problem if you had no health insurance up to now?

That's a straw man argument...

safari
safari

@eagle11772 @VintageResearch 

Why is this Stalinism-Lite? Every American citizen should have healthcare. It's not if, it's when you'll need to see a doctor. If you are not insured and you go to the emergency room, who pays for it if you do not have the means? Have you checked out the price of a MRI assessment? At least $10,000.