How would Iowa be affected by a government shutdown? Here's what to know:

The new federal courthouse under construction at 101 Locust St. in Des Moines.

If a federal government shutdown starts on Oct. 1, it will affect employees, services and locations across Iowa.

The potential shutdown, a result of Congress being unable to pass legislation funding the government, would be the first since a 35-day partial shutdown stretching from late 2018 into early 2019.

Here's what you need to know about how a shutdown would impact Iowa.

When could the federal government shutdown start?

If Congress has not finalized and passed a budget deal or funding extension by Saturday, Sept. 30, all federal agencies except those that are "essential" — including the U.S. Postal Service, Medicare and Social Security — will halt work on Sunday, Oct. 1.

Federal employees at those nonessential agencies will not receive pay for the duration of the shutdown.

At the national level: What does a federal government shutdown mean? How you and your community could be affected

How many Iowans will be out of work during a government shutdown?

A shutdown means federal employees across the country, including in Iowa, will be furloughed.

According to Iowa's most recent employment statistics, there are an estimated 18,000 federal government employees based in Iowa.

During the last government shutdown in 2018-19, the Iowa Department of Workforce Development received an estimated 500 unemployment insurance claims from federal employees, spokesperson Jesse Dougherty said in an email to the Register.

However, it is "not typically advisable" for those employees to file for unemployment during a shutdown, Dougherty said.

"If they ultimately receive back pay upon the conclusion of a shutdown, they would be required to report that to us and repay any benefits received," he said.

More: When was the last US government shutdown? How long did it last? A brief history of gridlock

Will Iowa's federal courthouses be open during the shutdown?

If you have a federal trial or hearing scheduled after Sept. 30, it should still proceed normally. Federal courthouses will remain open at least initially as court employees work without pay.

The federal judiciary's administrative arm said last week that courts should be able to remain open and continue operating for at least two weeks after a shutdown begins.

The clerk for Iowa's southern district courts was unable to be reached for details on whether construction on the new federal courthouse in Des Moines would continue amid a shutdown.

How will WIC, SNAP food aid in Iowa be impacted by a federal shutdown?

Food assistance programs will still be up and running in the short term but could encounter disruptions in the case of an extended shutdown.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, a former governor of Iowa, said in a White House briefing Monday that SNAP would continue through October. But if the shutdown continues longer than that, its funding could be at risk.

WIC, which helps low-income mothers with infants and children at nutritional risk, could be out of money within days of a shutdown, Vilsack said. Some states may be able to use extra funding to buy a couple of additional days.

Register Editorial: Listen to Chuck Grassley. Government shutdowns achieve nothing.

Will the VA hospital in Des Moines stay open during a shutdown?

Health care provided through the VA Central Iowa Health System will not be affected by a shutdown, spokesperson Dan Kuestner told the Register.

Will Iowa lakes, national parks stay open to the public?

DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge in Missouri Valley has no current plan in place for the possible shutdown.

The project leader at the refuge, Tom Cox, said he's experienced plenty of shutdowns before, and each one comes with different rules and regulations.

Cox said his team plans to stay alert and make decisions once more information is released.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials reported that they also have not received any guidance from their headquarters pertaining to Saylorville Lake and the shutdown, but they're keeping an eye on any news and updates.

Laury Marshall, assistant chief of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, said Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge had nothing to share on the topic of a government shutdown.

Will travel through the Des Moines airport be affected during a federal shutdown?

Air traffic controllers and TSA agents are deemed "essential" federal employees and will have to work without pay during a shutdown.

During the previous shutdown, many began to call in sick after two weeks, leading to longer wait times and flight delays across the country.

How will a federal shut down affect farms and agriculture in Iowa?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, during the previous shutdown, was forced to delay the release of key crop reports, leaving investors and farms without that information until funding was approved.

A number of key farm aid programs are set to expire on Sept. 30. Congress is negotiating a path to either temporarily extend those programs or pass a permanent solution in the form of a new farm bill, which includes those aid programs, funding for other agricultural services and pursuits, and money for SNAP, WIC and other food aid.

U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, told a town hall meeting in West Des Moines at the end of August that she did not expect a bill to be done by the end of September.

Ernst is aiming to include legislation within the farm bill to require further oversight into Chinese ownership of farmland. But the sticking point in negotiations between Democrats and Republicans on the package, she said, is likely to be work requirements for food stamps.

USA TODAY contributed reporting.

Galen Bacharier covers politics for the Register. Reach him at or (573) 219-7440, and follow him on Twitter @galenbacharier.

Victoria Reyna-Rodriguez is a general assignment reporter for the Register. Reach her at or follow her on Twitter @VictoriaReynaR.

This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: How would a government shutdown affect Iowa?