RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – As Congress has yet to pass a spending bill, the possibility of a government shutdown looms ever greater. Many agencies will be impacted while only some may suffer a few headaches.

What is an appropriation?

Appropriation refers to money that is set aside by formal action for a specific use.

The House and Senate have 12 subcommittees that hold hearings to analyze budget requests and needs for federal spending programs.

These members of Congress then pass appropriation bills to provide funding.

When members of Congress fail to enact all 12 appropriation bills before the start of a new fiscal year, a government shutdown is triggered — effectively cutting off a number of essential government services from necessary funding.

Should the subcommittees manage to pass some but not all appropriation bills, there will be a “partial government shutdown.”

Will a shutdown impact healthcare or retirement funding?

In regard to Medicare and Medicaid, these two services are under the federal government’s mandatory outlays.

Programs that are categorized as mandatory outlays are entitled to funding and do not take place through appropriations and the same can be said for social security.

During a government shutdown, customer service representatives for these programs may be furloughed which would cause several delays and disruptions for customers.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, only 49% of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services or CMS staff will be retained.

Would student loans be impacted?

Federal student loan borrowers are to resume paying their bills at the start of October 2023.

Though a potential government shutdown would begin Oct. 1, student loans will not be affected.

Will a government shutdown impact mail deliveries?

Thankfully, the United States Postal Service is an independent agency within the executive branch.

The Postal Service generates its revenue from the sale of products and services not taxpayer dollars, therefore a potential shutdown of the federal government would not impact the service of mail deliveries or other services.

Lawmakers have before 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 1, to enact a final funding plan for the new fiscal year.

If not, a government shutdown will be enacted.