If youve got a meeting scheduled with an Internal Revenue Service auditor, assume its canceled.
If youve lost your Social Security card, your local Social Security Administration office wont be able to provide you with a replacement.
And if youre among the more than 2,000 employees or contractors working at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agencys massive air pollution research and regulation facility in Research Triangle Park, youre most likely furloughed. Ditto if youre one of the 1,200 people who work at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in RTP.
Many crucial government operations wont be affected by the federal government shutdown that was slated to begin at midnight. Social Security and Medicare benefits will continue. The U.S. Postal Service will deliver the mail.
But it will trigger major disruptions and minor hassles.
Look for the furloughs of government employees and contractors to ripple throughout the local and national economy.
Government employees spend money, too, said James Kleckley, an economist at East Carolina University. They go out to eat, they buy groceries, they get haircuts. So youre going to hurt spending in the economy.
The uncertainty caused by the shutdown is also a negative.
If youre somebody thinking of starting a business or expanding a business, what are you going to do? Kleckley said. Youre not going to do anything until those people (in the nations capital) work it out.
Just how much impact a shutdown will have on the economy depends on how long it lasts.
If we get by with a one- or two-day shutdown I think it will have a very small impact, said Mike Walden, an economist at N.C. State University.
Some economists are projecting that a more extended shutdown could shave the growth of the economy by a few tenths of a percentage point, which maybe doesnt sound like much but, if were growing at 2.5 percent and you shave two- or three-tenths of a percent off that, you have a real impact, Walden said.
Walden added that the scenario was similar the last time the government temporarily shut down 17 years ago, but theres one crucial difference: The current economy is in a much weaker state.
A brief shutdown is what the regions major research universities Duke, N.C. State and UNC-Chapel Hill are hoping for because the federal government is a major source of research funding. N.C. State alone received $236 million in research grants from the federal government in the 2012-13 school year.
Were hearing it wont impact our research dollars immediately, said Terri Lomax, vice chancellor for research, innovation and economic development at N.C. State.
If its a short shutdown, well still be allowed to work on grants, she said. In a long shutdown, we would definitely have to shut down research.
In addition, she noted, no new federal grants will be awarded as long as the shutdown is in effect.
Although Republicans in Washington used the threat of a shutdown as leverage to try to stop the new health care law, that effort failed. Enrollment in health care plans under the law starts Tuesday as planned.