No easy solutions for unpaid federal workers amid government shutdown

Government shutdown. WINK News photo.
Government shutdown. WINK News photo.

Coast Guard members are some of the other 800,000 furloughed or essential workers that have to resort to food banks and other means to live during the partial government shutdown, which has extended beyond a month.

“They need to get paid,” Senator Rick Scott said. “These individuals don’t make a lot of money. Most of them are probably living paycheck to paycheck.”

Filing for unemployment is an option, but as WINK News Safety and Security Specialist Rick Kolko points out, these workers are not unemployed — just unpaid.

“Once the shutdown ends hopefully soon, they’ll get their back pay,” Kolko said. “If they applied for and successfully got unemployment funds, there’s a possibility they’ll have to give that money back.”

They also have to be careful about what donations they accept.

“You can take donations,” Kolko said. “But it has to be carefully looked at as if you’re taking donations from a company you may investigate or inspect or oversee.”

Federal Credit Unions are offering no interest loans for federal workers. However, Kolko said, it could affect their credit score in the end.

“If you’re missing payments or late,” Kolko said, “that could come back to haunt you when it’s time to get your security clearance renewed.”

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