Shutdown Causing More Financial Problems for Furloughed Employees

As the government shutdown enters its second month with no end in sight, another published report is detailing the financial dire straits that many of the 800,000 furloughed government employees are in, with renewed calls for leniency, even after the shutdown ends.

As the shutdown ticks toward Feb. 1, when a new round of payments is due, more financial institutions expect to receive calls from customers who do not have the income to meet their financial obligations. Government employees are picking up part-time jobs, looking at payday loans, tapping friends and family for money, using credit cards, and taking advantage of food banks and other services to help provide food, shelter, and other necessities during the shutdown.

But even after the shutdown ends, it will take a while for government employees to get back on their feet, even if they receive back pay for the work they did while the government was shut down.

A study of federal employees that was conducted after a 16-day shutdown in 2013 revealed that the median worker had enough money to cover eight days of expenses, and two-thirds of workers did not have enough to last two weeks without getting paid.

The 800,000 furloughed employees owe $438 million in rent and mortgage payments, and no doubt just as much in other financial obligations, such as car loans, credit cards, utility and cell phone bills, and medical bills.

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