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What Government Contractors Should Expect During a Government Shutdown

by Mary Love - January 7, 2019

The agencies directly impacted by this current government shutdown are Departments of State, Treasury, Justice, Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Homeland Security, some of Health and Human Services, most of Interior, the Executive Office of the President, most independent agencies, and the Judicial Branch.

To see what independent agencies are independent go to

You may also be surprised if you search each department to see all the categories included under those departments. For instance, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Prisons  and many more are under the Department of Justice, which is currently unfunded. The Small Business Administration (an independent agency) is closed and so is the Internal Revenue Service, located under the Department of Treasury.

If you need to check the immigration status of a potential employee for your government contract, the E-Verify website (Department of Homeland Security) is not currently being managed. Social Security (an independent agency) is still issuing checks, but not processing new applications or disputes., the site where you would apply for HUBzone, 8(a) or woman-owned small business certifications, has a banner that says “ is not available during the shutdown of the U. S government. We’re sorry for any inconvenience.”  

You will have to wait for the SBA to reopen before you can respond to inquiries from them.

It appears you are still able to update your Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) thru the System for Award Management (SAM) profile, even though the DSBS website is managed by the SBA.

The Department of Treasury’s website states they have implemented their Lapse in Appropriations Contingency Plan. However, if you have submitted an invoice for a contract with the Corps of Engineers you should get paid in the appropriate amount of time based on that invoice. The Corps of Engineers is part of the Department of Defense which has been funded. You will be paid from that funding, not from the Treasury Department.

However, if your contract is with an agency that is shut down, your invoice payment will be delayed until the agency who issued the contract is reopened/funded. 

The Contracting Officer should have notified you if your federal contract is impacted by the shutdown. If the Social Security office is closed, they probably won’t need janitorial services, but they may still need security services. My experience is that at least some contracting personnel will work through a shutdown, so if in doubt, contact your contracting officer.

Once the organization is funded and the shutdown ends, your contracting officer will notify you concerning when you can proceed with your contract. Once the government reopens, it is not like flipping a switch. There could be additional delays for funding to reach the office who manages your contract.  

It is possible that modifications will be needed to grant extensions of time for contract work to be completed due to the delay from the government shutdown.  Depending on the number of active contracts at specific contracting offices and agencies, this may be a busy time for them because notifications and communications may be necessary for many of their contractors. This may be true for finance offices catching up on invoice payments. 

When in doubt, email your contracting officer with a request for them to acknowledge receipt of your email. 

If you have a contract with the Department of Defense, Labor, Energy, Education, Veterans Affairs, the District of Columbia, or the Legislative Branch, you may not have any issues continuing to work as specified by your contract because those office have not yet been impacted by the shutdown. You should also not have issues with payment from these offices. 

We hope that you are not negatively affected by any of this and we at the Arkansas Procurement Technical Assistance Center will be happy to answer your questions, or direct you to someone who can. You may reach us at 501-671-2390 in Little Rock or 501-650-6180 in Bentonville.

Mary Love