Government shutdown creates stress for families of furloughed workers

Credit: Troy Colson/KTVB

Government shutdown creates stress for families of furloughed workers

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by Scott Evans

Bio | Email | Follow: @ScottEvansKTVB

KTVB.COM

Posted on October 1, 2013 at 5:06 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 1 at 6:10 PM

BOISE – With all the focus on what is and what is not open during the federal government shutdown, the people affected can easily be overlooked.

This is a scary time for families. Men and women told to go home, without pay, with no timeframe to return. And with bills to pay, difficult doesn't quite explain how tough this situation is.

Across the country there are signs like the one at the Bureau of Land Management office in Boise that say the offices are closed. Inside the lights were off and no one inside.

At Gowen Field, it's a different scene but the same message.

Cars, constantly leaving, each one driven by guardsmen considered non-essential. Each one, like Capt. Chris Borders, is a non-paid, non-duty status.

"It's going to mean time away from work so that means diminished ability to meet my financial obligations, so it will impact me," said Borders.

Despite preparing for a rainy day, this father of three has real concerns about providing for his family. And he's not alone. No one knows how long this shut down will last.

"It brings on stress and, you know, it's concerning especially when you have a family and bills to pay," said Borders.

Borders says he'll use his rainy day money until Congress can reach an agreement to reopen the government.

"I will treat this as an unpaid vacation to a certain point, but I do need to make sure I am living within my means," said Borders. "I have to plan for the worst and hope for the best and that's what I'm doing.”

If the shutdown lasts longer than a week employees who are furloughed can apply for unemployment benefits with the state.

The last time the government shutdown was Dec. 15, 1995 and it lasted 22 days. Furloughed employees later received their lost wages.

At this point there's no indication either way whether furloughed employees will receive their lost wages.

All federal employees were required to sign a document outlining the furlough, as well as agreeing not to do anything that might be work related.

While we don't have a specific timeframe on the length of the furlough, the document guardsmen had to sign stated that the furlough status is not expected to exceed 30 days.

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