Resources for Military Families During a Government Shutdown


Staying Informed

Like every government shutdown in the past, the biggest question for military families is, “How does this impact me?” The Military Mom Collective is a collaborative community for the military family worldwide. We exist to provide resources, encouragement, and community to all branches, ranks, and families. In an effort to complete this mission, we’ve done the research and compiled as many relevant answers as we can find.

As more information is released, this post will continue to be updated. We are doing our best to find accurate answers; however, every duty station is going to be different, so it is best to contact your local leadership.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at [email protected]

Base Services

Commissaries and Shops

  • All exchanges and shops should remain open because they are funded differently.
  • Stateside commissaries should be closed for the duration of the shutdown. However, OCONUS (overseas) commissaries and some stateside commissaries in remote locations will remain open, because they are considered essential.

On-Base Housing

  • Housing and utilities are considered essential. However, some non-essential staff in those offices may be furloughed affecting some non-essential activities. But some on-base housing is privatized and wouldn’t experience the same potential delays and/or cancellations.
  • Those scheduled to move in to or out of base housing during a PCS may be impacted due to moving delays. Contact your housing office for specific details.

On-Base Child Care

  • Child care centers will remain open where it is deemed necessary for essential support staff. Contact your local Child Development Center for specific information for you.

On-Base Schools

  • DoDEA schools on base will be open and classes will be uninterrupted. However, most sports and extracurricular activities will be canceled. Some base schools are run by the local school district and would not be impacted. If your child would be affected by any extra-curricular cancellations, you should be contacted.


  • Because of how these programs are funded, some events or services may be canceled on a case-by-case basis. Contact your local office to see how your Morale, Welfare, and Recreation department will be affected.



  • Any patient seeing a civilian provider under a current referral or under the Select Plan should not see any interruption in care. For those being seen at a Military Treatment Facility, see below.
  • There has not yet been word on whether TriCare call centers will experience impact during the impending government shutdown. However, during the shutdown of 2019, TriCare was unaffected except for being able to pay-out travel reimbursement claims.
  • Nurse Advice Line
    • The CONUS Nurse Advice Line is considered essential and will remain open regardless of the length of the shutdown.

Military Hospitals and Clinics

  • Emergency and inpatient care will remain open. However, acute care, elective procedures, and primary care appointments may be canceled. If you are directly affected, you should be contacted. Information about your local hospital and clinic should be disseminated through base-wide channels.

    VA Hospitals

    • VA Hospitals will remain open and unaffected.

    Social Security

    • If you currently receive Social Security checks, that will be unaffected. However, some employees might be furloughed which would effect how fast your phone call gets answered if you have further questions for them.

    Medicaid and Medicare

    • Reimbursements and offices will remain open and unaffected.


Regardless of pay, active duty military are still considered essential and will be expected to report for duty. If this changes, your command will disseminate that information directly to you.

As of Sept. 26, 2023, Congress had no clear path to passing a defense budget, threatening troop paychecks.

Need financial assistance?

Contact your Service’s Aid or Relief Society.

Contact your financial institution(s), landlord/rental property management, etc. to inform them you have been affected by the government shutdown.

Federal Programs


  • The website and call center will remain fully operational and available 24/7 as usual.


  • Financial assistance requests will continue to be approved and career counselors will continue to be available.

Food Aid Programs

  • School breakfast and lunch programs will continue, as will Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP – formerly known as “food stamps”).
  • Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said WIC “expires … or stops immediately” in the event of a shutdown. The department does have a contingency plan that could provide funds for a day or two.

Your local food bank can help you find food today. They partner with food pantries, soup kitchens, and meal programs in your local community to give away free food.

Call to Action from Secure Families Initiative

“CALL TO ACTION: As recently as last week, one Representative said he wasn’t hearing about the impending shutdown from his constituents, implying that this isn’t a problem outside of Washington, DC. We need to remind our members of Congress that they work for us! An essential part of that work is funding the government and ensuring essential workers, like military service members, are paid even during a shutdown.
Here’s what you can do: call all three of your members of Congress. The Congressional Switchboard can connect you (202-224-3121). Tell each one that you are very concerned about a shutdown and how it would impact your family. Encourage them to negotiate and work late and do whatever it takes to avoid a shutdown.”