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Furloughed federal workers to miss second paycheck this week

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This Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019, selfie photo provided by Haley Hernandez shows herself, a stay-at-home mother of four and wife of an active duty member of the U.S. Coast Guard, in Corpus Christi, Texas. Hernandez said she has applied for free lunches for her children, and she is awaiting an electronic food stamps card in the mail. She wonders how they will pay their $1,400 mortgage.

Haley Hernandez via AP

This Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019, selfie photo provided by Haley Hernandez shows herself, a stay-at-home mother of four and wife of an active duty member of the U.S. Coast Guard, in Corpus Christi, Texas. Hernandez said she has applied for free lunches for her children, and she is awaiting an electronic food stamps card in the mail. She wonders how they will pay their $1,400 mortgage.

That meant that delaying their mortgage payment was the only way to stay afloat, according to the study.

“Even if there are penalties or costs, late payment of a mortgage is a source of credit that is available without the burden of applying for credit,” the authors wrote.

Overall, the effected workers didn’t rely on credit cards to make up their lost wages, but postponed making payments on outstanding debt.

But that 2013 shutdown was over in two weeks. Furloughed workers in the current shutdown have already gone through a full monthly payment cycle. So those who miss credit payments now face late fees and the prospect of default.

The political stalemate has also prompted thousands of federal employees and their families to apply for unemployment and food stamps to get by. Last week, the number of furloughed federal employees seeking unemployment benefits jumped from fewer than a thousand per week before the shutdown to more than 10,000 during the week that ended Jan. 5, according to the Labor Department.

Other workers, who are hesitant to apply and expect to eventually get back pay, are busy juggling household budgets with no assurance when they will see their next check.

Will Kohler, a furloughed IRS tax examiner in Covington, Kentucky, applied for unemployment but ran into another kind of complication. His application is in limbo because the Treasury Department office that needs to verify his claim is closed as a result of the shutdown.

Kohler, who makes $38,000 a year, said many co-workers are in the same predicament. Not a single one has been approved for unemployment, he said. Kohler said workers like him are stuck in a difficult position, in part because they are restricted by government ethics rules from getting many kinds of outside work. When it gets to a point where government employees have to go to a food bank, this is not the America that I grew up in,” he said. “It’s mind-boggling. It really is.”

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