All essential services will continue during a shutdown, such as public safety operations and Medicare payments.
Additionally, the shutdown should have little effect on Social Security checks. According to the Social Security Administration's shutdown contingency plan, released in December, most core programs and benefits would continue in the event of a shutdown.
"Funding for the programs under Titles II, XVI, and XVIII of the Social Security Act will continue, even in the event of a lapse in appropriations," the plan says.
A shutdown only affects funds annually appropriated by Congress, not funding that is sustained long-term. The Social Security trust fund is paid for through a combination of taxes and long-term investments.