If you've got Washington vacation plans

Washington DC, USA - June 5, 2018: Close up looking up at the pillars and exhibit sign on the National Archive building facing Constitution Avenue
Pamela Au / Shutterstock
The shutdown has closed the National Archives in Washington.

You may want to rethink them. Many D.C. tourists sites — including the National Archives (home to the original Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution), Ford's Theatre and the White House Visitor Center — are closed.

The Smithsonian says its many museums and the National Zoo will close starting on Jan. 2.

If you work for the government

a young woman with dark hair is in her quarters, she sits in front of the TV and switches TV channels, a woman is seen watching a movie, a domesticer likes thrillers
Usoltsev Kirill / Shutterstock
Tens of thousands of federal workers will be furloughed.

You could find yourself sitting at home with Judge Judy but without pay. About 40% of the civilian federal workforce is considered "nonessential" during a shutdown and is put on furlough. Up to 850,000 workers were furloughed in 2013.

Usually, federal employees who stay home receive back pay after the shutdown ends. But the delayed paychecks can throw off family budgets.

If you're planning a trip to a national park

The sign
Talulla / Shutterstock
During previous shutdowns, America's parks turned away visitors and campers.

You'll need to do some research. The National Park Service website warns: "Some national parks may remain accessible to visitors; however, access may change without notice. Some parks are closed completely."

States have rushed in with funding to keep some parks operating as normal, though visitor centers at many parks are closed and services are limited. Bathrooms may be closed — or, if they're open, you won't find any t.p.

To see what's open, your best bet is to check the web page for the specific park you're interested in visiting.

If you worry about bad guys seeing an opening

NEW YORK, NY – MAY 19, 2018: Travelers lining up at a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) queue in JFK airport in New York City.
David Tran Photo / Shutterstock
TSA agents will remain on the job.

Fear not: The FBI, the Coast Guard, the U.S. Border Patrol, food inspectors and federal prison guards are all in the "essential" part of government that stays open during a shutdown.

The TSA will keep scanning you and doing those pat-downs at the airport, and America's military will remain on duty around the world.

But the troops may not be paid.

If you get money from Uncle Sam

Detail of several Social Security Cards and cash money symbolizing retirement pensions financial safety
Lane V. Erickson / Shutterstock
The government pays out Social Security and other benefits during a shutdown.

Though Social Security payments do continue going out during a shutdown, you'll be out of luck if you lose your Social Security card. You may have a long wait for a replacement.

Medicare and Medicaid benefits are still being paid.

If you've got important snail mail coming

CHICAGO - JUNE 26: People walk past US Postal Service truck on June 26, 2013 in Chicago. USPS is the operator of the largest civilian vehicle fleet in the world.
Tupungato / Shutterstock
Mail service will keep going if the government shuts down.

No need to worry about getting your mail, because you can include shutdowns with those things that don't stop the U.S. Postal Service — like snow, rain and "gloom of night."

The money for the post office doesn't get tied up in these shutdown brawls, so your non-electronic bills and all of those Bed Bath & Beyond coupons will keep coming.

About the Author

Doug Whiteman

Doug Whiteman


Doug Whiteman is the editor-in-chief of MoneyWise. He has been quoted by The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and CNBC.com and has been interviewed on Fox Business, CBS Radio and the syndicated TV show "First Business."

You May Also Like

Joe Biden Says He Wants to Give You a $1,400 Stimulus Check — Quickly

He has unveiled a new COVID relief plan by saying, "There's no time to waste."

These Chains Are Permanently Closing the Most Stores in 2020

Macy's, Pier 1 and other retailers are shutting down large numbers of stores for good.

8 Underrated Cities for Millennials in Search of Home Ownership

Don't skip over these smaller, but still bustling, metros.

Even With Mortgage Rates Super Low, You Still Must Shop Around, Study Shows

Latching onto the first rate you see could cost you thousands of dollars extra in interest.