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.
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.