A government shutdown looks probable, as Congress has been unable to reach an agreement on budget issues. There are people that are likely to be hurt by a shutdown if it happens, though seems like that winning approval from less than the majority of the American individuals is more significant that other considerations. Government employees will end up losing several days or weeks of pay, however little else will occur. Source for this article - Government employees to bear brunt of government shutdown by MoneyBlogNewz.
Basic services would continue under federal shutdown
The federal government may end up in a temporary shutdown on May 16 due to the battle over a spending bill. Even with a shutdown, not everything will shut down. Some things will continue. Nevertheless, there can be the United States Postal service working. This is because it finances itself for probably the most part. According to MSNBC, any government service "involving the safety of human life or the protection of property" can't legally be stopped in a government spending budget showdown. More than likely, Social Security will continue. This would make sense.
No more pay for government workers
The individuals who stand to lose probably the most are government employees. Some won't have to worry; air traffic controllers will still be needed, and allowing members of the military to miss a paycheck would be political suicide. However, employees in agencies that are involved in clerical, managerial or financial roles will most likely be put on a furlough. The Obama administration froze the pay for these employees already. Contractors who work for the government, several of whom are small businesses, will also lose revenue, according to the Wall Street Journal. It is possible that employees and contractors won't get reimbursed. They might just miss out totally.
How to be prepared
There were plans in place already. Several were prepared for a government shutdown. San Diego’s Cabrillo Credit Union is offering furlough loans to members that are laid off temporarily by the government. The Credit Union Times states there could be zero percent interest on these loans. Government employees were offered a program comparable to this during the shutdown in 1995-1996 which several employees should look for at local credit unions. Reuters states that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said he might end up going into the Social Security Trust fund and other sources to help with the shutdown giving funding to employees if there's a shutdown.