(CNN) – The partial federal government shutdown is now the longest ever — with no end in sight.
With many federal institutions closed and hundreds of thousands of workers furloughed, people are understandably worried and confused about what happens next.
We’ve got answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about this historic shutdown:
When will the government reopen?
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Your guess is as good as ours.
President Donald Trump and lawmakers are still locked in a standoff over Trump’s demand that Congress allocate $5.7 billion to build a wall at the US-Mexico border. Trump has said he’s considering declaring a national emergency to get the money but he’d prefer to strike a deal with Congress.
The House, now led by Democrats, passed a series of spending bills this week that would reopen parts of the government, including financial services, national parks, housing and transportation, and agriculture. But they’re unlikely to go anywhere.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked a move to get the GOP-controlled Senate to vote on the bills, and the White House has signaled the President would veto any spending bills that don’t have his requested wall funds.
Will I get my mail?
Yes. The Postal Service doesn’t use federal appropriations for operations, relying instead on sales of postage, products and services.
Should I be worried about my health?
Still, about 41% of the FDA is off the job due to the shutdown, and some employees caution that response time to emergencies could be slower.
The FDA can call back furloughed employees in an emergency, but they’d only stay as long as needed to address that situation.
Is it safe to travel?
Yes. While agencies like the Transportation Security Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration are understaffed because of the shutdown, experts say there’s no reason to believe safety is compromised.
Security at airport checkpoints across the country is just as effective as ever, and average wait times are within TSA standards, an agency spokesman said. But as the shutdown drags on, passengers could experience longer security lines or flight delays, and workers could quit over greater workloads and no pay.
Meantime, investigations into significant vehicle, plane and rail incidents are on hold as National Transportation Safety Board workers also are furloughed.
Is the military affected?
But since the US Coast Guard falls under the Department of Homeland Security, many of those service members are furloughed, while others must work without pay.
The Department of Veterans Affairs is fully funded for the 2019 fiscal year, and all operations will continue as normal during the shutdown.
What about weather forecasting?
Hurricane season doesn’t start until June, but forecasters and researchers use the off-season to refine and improve storm-predicting models, methods and techniques. Now, much of that research is in jeopardy.
Will I get my tax refund?
Yes. The Trump administration confirmed that this week. It’s a departure from the Internal Revenue Service’s policy not to pay tax refunds while the government is closed.
Will I get my food stamps?
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, known as WIC, is also funded through February. Child nutrition programs, including school breakfasts, lunches and after-school meals, are funded through March.
How are Native American tribes affected?
For one tribe of Chippewa Indians in Michigan, the cost amounts to $100,000 each day the government is shut down, The New York Times reported.
Can I still visit the national parks?
At some parks, local volunteers are pitching in until the government reopens.
What about the Smithsonian museums?
All Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are now closed.
Can I get married in Washington?
But Washington’s mayor signed the LOVE Act, temporarily allowing a city officer to issue marriage licenses during the shutdown so couples can get the tax and home ownership advantages they’re due.
What happens to immigration cases?
Cases of immigrants who aren’t detained will be reset for after the government reopens, with thousands of cases rescheduled so far, a spokesperson for the office told CNN.
Are the President and members of Congress getting paid?
Will federal workers get back pay?
About 380,000 federal employees are required to stay home, while another 420,000 must work without pay. Both chambers of Congress passed legislation this week to guarantee back pay for furloughed federal workers, and Trump has indicated that he would sign it.
Contracted workers may not be as lucky, though. Whether they get paid is up to their employer.
Can federal employees take paid vacation days during the shutdown?
Any scheduled paid time off gets canceled during the shutdown, per Office of Management and Budget guidelines. That means employees who took time off during the holidays could see smaller paychecks once the government reopens.
What about federal workers’ benefits?
Workers also can’t to make contributions to Thrift Saving Plans, their federal retirement savings accounts. They can borrow money from those accounts — but only if the shutdown is expected to last fewer than 30 days. Employees can withdraw from the accounts if they are 59½ years old or face a “financial hardship.”