Rachael Weatherly is a senior adviser for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but she’s considering trying to get a job at a grocery store.
Weatherly is among the 800,000 federal employees who aren’t getting paychecks for the first time Friday because of the lingering government shutdown.
They are scaling back spending, canceling trips, applying for unemployment benefits and taking out loans to stay afloat, with no end in sight for a partial shutdown that enters its 21st day Friday and will be the longest in history by this weekend.
Weatherly, a Maryland resident and mother of two young children, said a recent separation from her spouse drained her bank account, and she’s just beginning to re-establish her savings. She can’t afford to miss one paycheck.
“I filed for unemployment. I’m waiting for that to come through,” she said.
Weatherly said her daycare provider agreed to defer payments, as did her mortgage company. But she still worries any late mortgage payments could negatively affect her credit score. The uncertainty, she said, is heightening her concerns.
Roughly 420,000 federal employees were deemed essential and are working unpaid. An additional 380,000 are staying home without pay. While furloughed federal workers have been given back pay in previous shutdowns, it’s not guaranteed that will happen this time.
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