I understand that a government shutdown can be confusing and my office is here to help. If you have any questions, feel free to call my district office at (805) 730-1710 or my DC office at (202) 225-3601. I have compiled some helpful information about what a government shutdown could mean for you:
Government Shutdown FAQs
I'm a federal employee who is not being paid, what resources are available to me?
Central Coast food banks are offering FREE food distributions for federal employees affected by the government shutdown. This week, the Santa Barbara Food Bank is hosting food distributions in Lompoc, Santa Maria, and Santa Barbara. To find out more information about SLO County Food Bank events, please click here. To find out more about food banks offering help in Santa Barbara County, click here.
Furloughed employees may also be eligible for unemployment in California. Weekly benefits are available for up to 26 weeks according to the EDD’s information page. If you are a furloughed federal employee who is struggling to make ends meet, apply for unemployment benefits here.
What is happening at the airport?
Air travel and security operations are impacted by the shutdown, and travelers should arrive early for any departures and prepare for delays in clearing customs. Air traffic controllers are working without pay, and the Federal Aviation Administration is asking furloughed aviation safety inspectors to resume their work. All aviation security workers – air traffic controllers, animal and plant inspectors, aviation safety experts, Customs and Border Patrol officials, and Transportation Security Agency officers – are working without pay.
It is tax filing season; what should I do?
Unfortunately, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is affected. An updated plan is in the works, but in the interim taxpayers may call 1-800-829-1040 for general information.
I rely on food assistance programs to feed my family. What should I expect?
In the short-term, the SNAP and Child Nutrition programs will continue operations, but the situation may change depending on the length of the shutdown: The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will continue operations and eligible households will still receive monthly benefits at least into February. The Child Nutrition (CN) Programs, including School Lunch, School Breakfast, Child and Adult Care Feeding, Summer Food Service and Special Milk will continue operations at least until February.
Can I apply for TSA PreCheck and Global Entry?
Online applications for TSA PreCheck are being accepted, but the Department of Homeland Security suspended Global Entry applications during the shutdown.
Can I use e-Verify to check the status of a potential employee?
No. E-Verify is suspended during the shutdown.
Will I continue to receive my Social Security and SSI checks?
Yes. The Social Security Administration will continue to process and mail checks. Congress already funded the agency for fiscal year 2019.
Individuals should check Social Security Online Services for updates.
Will my mail still arrive?
Yes. The approximately 500,000 Postal Service employees are exempt from furlough because the Postal Service is self-funded.
Will I still be able to visit the national parks and monuments?
Some parks may remain accessible to visitors; however, access may change without notice and some parks are closed completely. Note that other services that require National Park Service Staff will be closed. This includes safety personnel, campground staff, concessions, and restrooms.
I'm travelling to DC during the shutdown, will I be able to visit the Smithsonian or attend my scheduled tours?
All Smithsonian Museums are closed for the duration of the shutdown. Tours are dependent upon the agency.
the following tours/agencies will be CLOSED for tours for the remainder of the shutdown:
• Kennedy Center
• All Smithsonian museums
The following tours/agencies are OPEN for tours:
• Bureau of Engraving and Printing
• Supreme Court
• Library of Congress
How will the shutdown affect FEMA natural disaster clean-up efforts?
FEMA emergency funds designated for current disaster response have not been affected by the shutdown.
What is the impact on veterans’ services?
What is the impact on small businesses?
All VA medical facilities and clinics will remain operational. US Coast Guard Retirees will see a lapse in pension payments starting Feb. 1st, all other military retirees will continue to receive pension payments. If you have additional questions, contact my district office at (805) 730-1710 and a member of my team will be able to assist you.
What is the impact on U.S. military personnel?
The US Coast Guard is the only military branch affected, as it is under the umbrella of the Department of Homeland Security. US Coast Guard Personnel in need of help should contact my office at (805) 730-1710 for assistance.
The partial government shutdown affects the SBA. Delays are possible, but you should immediately contact your lender. If the SBA has already processed your loan guaranty your lender should be able to disburse your loan funds to you in a timely manner.
Businesses are likely to face delays if the SBA has not yet processed their loan guaranty approval. A shutdown will likely result in a suspension of many small business services support services; consequently, businesses seeking SBA loans should contact their lender immediately as SBA support services are likely to be suspended during a shutdown.
A short-term government shutdown should not affect loans from the Office of Disaster Assistance.
What is the impact on federal housing loans?
Unfortunately, the Department of Housing and Urban Development is included in the partial government shutdown, and you should contact your lender immediately.
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) urged mortgagees and lenders to be sensitive to approved borrowers, which includes requests for late fee waivers and the suspension of credit reporting on affected borrowers.
FHA may have staff reductions during the shutdown; as a result, there may be a delay processing FHA-insured loans. The length of the shutdown will affect the severity of any delays.
HUD will have a limited number of employees to answer emergency questions during a shutdown and will not be able to answer case specific questions. The HUD/ FHA Information Resources Center may be reached at (800) CALL-FHA (1-800-225-5342) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you call or email field offices or headquarters’ staff, you may hear a voicemail or receive a return email indicating that the federal government is closed.
All HUD regional, field offices, and headquarters will be closed. There will be exceptions for a limited range of activities. The HUD public resource information line is 1-866-INFO HUD (1-866-463-6483).
I am on Medicare. Will I still be able to see my doctor?
Yes, existing Medicare patients can still see their healthcare providers, and those providers will continue to submit bills and receive payment for their services.
Which federal employees keep working during a government shutdown?
When there is a government shutdown, federal agencies are required to classify their employees as either “essential” or “non-essential.” The employees classified as “essential” continue to work during the shutdown. However, the employees classified as “non-essential” are put on unpaid furlough.
Do furloughed federal employees get back pay?
Yes! I'm proud to have voted for, and helped pass into law, the Government Employee Fair Treatment Act. This law ensures that federal employees who are furloughed or required to work during this government shutdown will be compensated for the period of the lapse.
Federal employees may send a letter to their creditors or mortgage lenders explaining their lapse of pay once they have already explained the situation over the phone. Sample letters from the Office of Personnel Management can be found here: https://t.co/t6h6OzALsS.