10 Ways the Shutdown Directly Affects You

From childcare to food safety and other concerns, see the ways the government shutdown impacts your life

It happened. As the clock struck midnight Washington time, government officially shut down because Congress and President Obama couldn't agree on a spending bill. It's the first time that's happened in 17 years, and it will affect pretty much all of us, in ways large or small. Here are 10 ways the shutdown directly affects you.

1. Your food safety

This is creepy to think about, but we can expect less oversight in our food safety during the shutdown. According to Food Safety News, a contingency staffing plan from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stipulates that under the circumstances 45 percent of the Food and Drug Administration’s nearly 15,000 will temporarily find themselves out of work. 

2. Your kids' nutrition

You've heard of WIC -- that's the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children. More than half of all infants born in this country have benefited by it (let that sink in), but federal funds supporting it would be shut down as long as the government is. This is one way of many that the shutdown hurts women the most, according to a Slate analysis.

3. Your health

No one wants to get the dreaded flu -- but some of us absolutely can't afford to get it, in particular if you're pregnant or immunocompromised. Well, you can probably still get a flu shot, thanks to private vaccine manufacturers. But the Center for Disease Control is suspending its program to monitor and control spread of flu during a shutdown, which means it could be more destructive this season than necessary, according to the Huffington Post.

4. Your loan approval

If you're a small business owner in need of a government loan, you can forget about that right now. Same goes if you were hoping to buy a house with assistance from a federal loan. According to CNN, you can probably still expect to see your Social Security and unemployment payments roll in, if the last shutdown was a reliable indicator, but you can definitely expect a backup in new applications.

5. Your recreation

Documentarian Ken Burns called our national parks "America's best idea." (Oh, the irony!) But don't expect to visit them during the shutdown: All parks will be closed and secured with all activities suspended (except those necessary to respond to emergencies). So you can cross Yellowstone and Yosemite off your fall travel plans for now. You can also expect other major attractions, like the Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo, to shutter during the shutdown.

6. Your travel

If you're traveling abroad, you can probably still get a passport -- but hop on it fast. The State Department says there are some funds apart from the congressional budget to fund operations, but it definitely appears we can't expect to count on this if the shutdown continues for a chunk of time. "Consular operations domestically and overseas will remain 100 percent operational as long as there are sufficient fees to support operations," according to a department statement referenced by USA Today.

7. Your trash pickup

If you live in Washington D.C., you might want to accelerate that composting plan you've been mulling over for years: Since Congress must approve the district's budget, there will be no trash collection during the shutdown, according to CNN. Talk about a public health concern.

8. Your childcare

If you depend on a childcare facility in a federal agency, you're going to have to make other plans as those centers are closed by the shutdown, according to the Washington Post.

9. Your paycheck

Hundreds of thousands of government workers all over the world can expect to see a delay in receiving paychecks during the shutdown. A vast number of others will go on furlough, meaning they won't work until the shutdown ends, according to NBC News. Of course, their own bills won't stop coming while the government sorts itself out.

10. Your veteran benefits

If you're a veteran receiving compensation for injuries in combat or service, you're really hoping for a quick resolution. The Department of Veterans Affairs said if the shutdown continues late into this month, it will run out of money to pay the compensation and pension for more than 3.6 million veterans, according to USA Today.

Yes, this is more than just a huge national embarrassment: It's a major imposition on most of our daily lives, and some of our very livelihoods. Want to vent your complaints to Congress (which is still getting paid, by the way) -- or just follow the critical conversation? Check out the NBC News Twitter hashtag #DearCongress

Alesandra Dubin is a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of home and travel blog Homebody in Motion. Follow her on FacebookGoogle+ and Twitter.

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