On Your Side | How will a potential government shutdown affect you?

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Friday, Jan. 19, 2018

(WRDW/WAGT) -- With hours looming before a complete shutdown of the federal government and everything resting on Congress and the President coming to terms with a deal, you may be wondering what that means for you.

You might be surprised to find out that the short answer is not much, actually. The government has shut down many times before and most of us average people are usually unaffected by it.

The difference is those in the military and government-employed civilians, who will still go to work as usual but will probably not be paid until the government reopens.

News 12 reached out to Fort Gordon to see how the impending government shut down would affect their operations, we received a statement that reads in part: "Failing an agreement by the deadline, a limited number of pre-designated personnel will continue operations; the rest will maintain close contact with their supervisors for specific up-to-date instructions."

And if you are a veteran or in the military and need to visit a VA hospital, you'll still be able to go. According to an NPR article, the Veterans Health Administration has been getting money in advance since the last time the government shut down.

So what if you get social security checks? You'll keep getting those.

Will you keep getting mail? Yes, you will. Though the U.S. Postal Service is a government entity, they have their own finances that will be unaffected by the shutdown.

Federal courts will remain open and continue to hear cases. According to CNBC, federal courts could continue to operate for three weeks without the need for funds.

Pretty much all essential services will continue and you may not see a disruption at all, even if employees of those services won't be paid during the shutdown process.

You'll still be able to fly in an airplane, and fly safely because TSA agents and air traffic controllers will still be on the clock. So will Border Patrol and Customs Agents, so nothing illegal will come into our country even if the government is shut down. You'll even still be able to get a passport if you're planning to leave the country.

So what will affect you? If you wanted to visit a national park or museum, in most cases you won't be able to. However, the Internal Department is trying to keep the parks open during the shutdown.

If you wanted to get a gun permit, you'll have to wait because the government shut down affects the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. If you're trying to get a small business loan, the agencies that pay that out will not be operating. The Internal Revenue Service will likely furlough its employees, which means that tax refund you're waiting to get could be delayed and has before when government shutdowns occurred during tax season.

Bloomberg says there have been 12 shutdowns since 1981 that lasted from one day to 21 days. The last time there was a shutdown? 2013. That shutdown lasted for 16 days.

So what happens to employees that have to work but aren't getting paid? In previous instances of government shutdowns, these employees were paid after the government resumed operations for the time they worked during the shutdown. It's likely this will happen in this case. For other civilian government employees, they will likely be furloughed until the government returns.

Government shutdowns are caused by the Congress and the President not coming to terms on legislation funding government operations and agencies. This potential government shutdown is over protections for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), up until now there has not been an agreement between Congress and the President.