The Shutdown Happened: Here’s What You Need to Know

2018 Government Shutdown 550px

No deal. The government shutdown is in effect as of midnight January 20. We’ve been here a few times over the past few years, so we have some idea what families should expect – although there are plenty of unknowns.

How will your military family be impacted? Here’s what we know:

Will my service member get paid?

No. BUT if Congress is able to pass a separate bill to continue military pay, service members should receive compensation as usual. They did this in 2013 with the Pay Our Military Act.

If Congress doesn’t pass a separate bill, there are several banking institutions, such as USAA, Navy Federal Credit Union, and Marine Federal Credit Union, who have been known to advance military pay to their customers during government shutdowns. Contact your bank to inquire about their policies for situations like these.

If funds are tight and your financial institution doesn’t provide advance pay in the event of a government shutdown, here are a few things you can do:

  1. Ask your bank if they would be willing to waive late or overdraft fees;

  2. Contact your creditors and let them know about your situation;

  3. Call your Service relief society for financial help:

If you don’t have an aid society, contact the Red Cross, or call 866-563-1376.

Following past shutdowns, Congress has voted to restore pay to federal employees whose compensation was temporarily stopped.

What about retiree pay?

Unlike currently serving military members, retiree pay comes from a military retirement trust fund and won’t be affected. This includes surviving spouses who receive funds through the Survivor Benefit Plan.

Does my service member still have to show up for work?

Yes. All military personnel are considered essential, and must report for duty during a shutdown regardless of pay.

I’m a civilian government employee. Will I still have to show up for work?

It depends. If your job is necessary to support military activities, or is deemed essential by the base commander or other government agency, you may be asked to come to work. Otherwise, you’ll be furloughed until further notice. Check with your supervisor if you’re unsure which category you fall under.

Will the base schools, Exchange, Commissary, Child Development Center, (etc.) be closed?

Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools remained open during the last two government shutdowns, as did military Exchanges. Child Development Centers (CDC) also stayed open on a case-by-case basis. Check with your installation CDC to learn more.

Commissaries located in the United States closed during the 2013 government shutdown, while OCONUS commissaries remained open.

I have a scheduled doctor’s appointment at the MTF. Will I still be seen?

You should still have access to medical and mental health treatment. This includes inpatient care and previously scheduled surgeries, but the shutdown may impact any elective procedures you have planned. Contact your provider’s office to confirm your situation and appointment.

For the newly bereaved:

  • With a government shutdown, there is no way for the government to pay the death gratuity ($100,000) benefit. This benefit is typically used to cover family expenses after a service member dies and funds funeral-related costs not covered by the government. The death gratuity is often viewed as "bridge money" to ensure the family has funds available before ongoing survivor benefits are put in place. During the 2013 government shutdown, the Fisher House helped bridge this gap as a contractor and provided benefits to families of the fallen.

  • Government-funded travel for surviving family members to attend the dignified transfer ceremony at Dover Air Force Base, unit memorials, or funerals may not be paid during the shutdown. Funeral benefits that are typically provided by the government for active-duty deaths may not be paid either.  

  • The Social Security Administration may not be able to process claims for new benefits, so the newly-bereaved would have to wait until after a government shutdown ends, potentially, for a new social security claim for benefits to be processed.

We're watching the situation closely and will provide information as we get it. In the meantime, keep us posted on what you’re seeing at your installation now that the shutdown is in place.

Posted January 17, 2018


From: Dona Bolt on: January 22, 2018
These old fuddie duddies don't deserve pay. Tired of their temper fits, rudeness. They have been in there to long. Change has to happen.
From: Jan on: January 22, 2018
It's time to get the republicans out of control
From: Bryant on: January 22, 2018
From: Amie on: January 22, 2018
An eye for an eye. Equal pay - - Drain the Swamp
From: Sarah on: January 21, 2018
Why is it that the Military doesn't get paid when the Congress and Senate as any house leaders do? Our Military is putting their lives on the line for horrific pay as it is and their families have to sacrifice so much already. Who is going to pay their bills and put up their families when they have no place to live as bills won't wait for the Government to pay them.
From: Diane on: January 21, 2018
If senators and congressmen can shut down the government, of whom they are also a part, and furlough hard working employees WITHOUT pay, all to support "illegals", they should also lose their pay.
From: Carol J Mckenzie on: January 21, 2018
You congress, senate apes need to just GROW UP. No pay for military, no pay for you.
From: eleanor on: January 21, 2018
I agree with you, Candace. This is the worst group of senators and congressmen we have ever had. All they care about is getting re-elected in November and enjoying their power. I am 75 years old, and I have never seen how much the above-mentioned are hurting our country with their inability to take care of the citizens of the USA.
From: Di on: January 21, 2018
I’ve just been told that your article is wrong and that CNN says all military will be paid for 6 months. Is that true.
From: Maria on: January 20, 2018
Thank you for the information, and these Democrat representatives do not know who voted them into office, come election time they shall see the power of those they furloughed, let's vote them out and let them hear us loud and clear
From: Karen on: January 20, 2018
I work at an MTF and will not know my work status till Monday? I'm also a military spouse with a planned surgery on Tues. Now I have no idea if I will have pay or if I'm still having surgery due to all this incompetent nonsense in Congress.
From: Donna on: January 20, 2018
yes, and I think used to be that way till they passed a law somewhat fairly recently to get paid - duh, who'd a thunk
From: Pat on: January 20, 2018
I totally agree with Carlene!
From: Lyn on: January 20, 2018
Those who are willing to protect our country should never have to worry about getting paid! The fools in Congress who are responsible for the shutdown because they can't have their way need to be removed from office. Maybe they should be willing do go without a paycheck for a while!!
From: thomas on: January 20, 2018
i think our armed forces should never stop, cause they defend our country with there lives, its not right for them to not get paid, and if senators and congressman and some other ppl like the president get paid isnt right what so ever, the ones putting there life on the line should be the first to get paid, no matter what.i think this is stupid. pay our armed forces ppl.
From: Carlene on: January 19, 2018
Ok, if the government sets down and our armed forces don’t get paid, then I think that should include senators, congressman, should have their pay withheld also. What is fair for the goose is fair for the gander!!! I also feel that they should have their pay reduced!!!! They don’t need to support to households.
Leave a Comment

Once submitted, your comment will be approved as soon as possible.

Get Involved


Your $17 helps us protect military families and develop programs to support them.

Join Now


Make a difference in your military community. Advocate for military families.

Act Now


Be the voice for your community. Help strengthen military families.


Powered by Blackbaud
nonprofit software