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Surprising Ways the Next Government Shutdown Will Affect You

Door closed sign with capitol dome in the background

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) made a last-minute deal with Republicans to re-open the government on Monday, the third day of the government shutdown. The deal only lasts through February 8, so another shutdown is possible — perhaps even likely. The government may not shut down in February, but if it does shut down again, Americans should know what to expect.

Five days after the 2013 shutdown, Moody’s Analytics reported that the shutdown cost the economy about $20 billion, 0.5 percent of GDP.

A future shutdown will likely have a broad impact — but it won't hit Americans where they might expect.

For instance, the local Department of Motor Vehicles would still be open. If you need to update your driver's license — or check out a library book — any federal shutdown won't make an impact. These are mostly state bodies, so a federal shutdown has no effect on them.

Many government benefits, like Social Security checks and food stamps, will also continue without interruption. If you want to get a mortgage, however...

A government shutdown means parts of major federal agencies, like the Internal Revenue Service, will temporarily close. But the IRS's closure doesn't automatically mark a national holiday.

As NBC5 reported, the IRS is vital for checking Social Security numbers and income for would-be homeowners seeking a mortgage. Kelly Decker, with First United Bank Mortgage, explained that banks use the IRS in the lone process, especially for first-time home buyers.

"It's going to take a little longer to get those loans funded. So if they had planned on moving trucks showing up on the last day of the month, it might mean they have to wait maybe another three, four, five days, depending on how long the shutdown takes," Decker told NBC5.

This could mean people selling their homes might reject a first-time home buyer in favor of someone who has cash.

The IRS stall might also delay the pay boost promised by the Republican tax bill signed at the end of last year. Some of the IRS's 45,500 employees were set to make sure that lower income taxes in the bill would have immediate impacts for February paychecks. While the January shutdown has ended, if the IRS doesn't finish this work in time, a February shutdown could stall the benefits of tax reform.

A future shutdown will also likely cause delays to the approval of new foods and other consumable goods through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and stall environmental cleanup from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

In 2013, the shutdown delayed 1.2 million IRS identity verification requests and stalled approvals from the FDA in moving products to market.