We're a family of five living on one-income, the income of a government employee, and my husband is now being told to prepare for a government shutdown this weekend. This almost happened twice this year, but preparations never got this far because Congress agreed to extensions and avoided it; this time, it is looking very likely. This not only affects my family, but many of those living here in the DC area, and others throughout the country. It may also affect you. Here are some important things to know:
Will we receive paychecks that pay out April 15th?
The bi-weekly paycheck that most government and military receive would normally occur Friday, April 15th. At this time, most agencies and the Defense Department are saying that 1 week's pay (for this current work week) will be paid out, with no paychecks after that if the shutdown continues.
Will the IRS shut down? Do I still need to file taxes?
Yes, you still need to file your income taxes by the April 18th deadline. If you have already filed and are expecting a refund, it should be on its way. The Washington Post is reporting that only paper-filed returns after this Saturday's possible shutdown would be affected.
Will my spouse (or I) get paid for the shutdown time? When?
Some employees are deemed “essential,” such as those in the military, providing security support, and many others throughout the country. Employees are to be notified by Friday as to their status. Whether or not employees will be paid for working during the shutdown will be determined by Congress, but in the previous shutdown all employees were retroactively paid. Essential employees, by working during the shutdown, have created an “obligation of pay” for the government and must be retro-actively paid, but there is no guarantee that non-essential workers will be paid. My husband and I are preparing for him not to be paid.
What my school/group is visiting Washington DC?
National parks and museums across the country will be closed during the shutdown. Unfortunately, this will affect millions of kids and seniors whose groups visit during spring break. Privately-owned properties (like the Newseum) are not affected. If you live elsewhere in the country, any federal buildings, parks, etc. will be closed.
I have some more personal thoughts about this as a dependent spouse, which I'll put in the next post. In the meantime, please see the Post's Government Shutdown FAQ article that is being continually updated as new information comes out. I'm also following Ed O'Keefe on Twitter. Updated: I just found the OPM's Guidance and Information on Furlough, which is where the Post is getting the info.