Federal workers feeling pinch from partial government shutdown

The government gave financially burdened workers a document that asks creditors to have pity on them. But it hasn't helped much
October 11, 2013 4:50:33 PM PDT
The federal government is pleading for pity on behalf of federal workers who can't pay their bills.

On Day 11 of the government shutdown, meetings continue on Capitol Hill. But here at home, talk is cheap -- or rather costly for those who depend on a government paycheck.

Ellen Simmons is a proud federal employee, working Friday without pay.

"We were told to report," she said.

Simmons loves her country and loves helping people at the Social Security Administration, but she doesn't like the spot the shutdown's put her in on the first payday since the shutdown started.

"Just meeting day-to-day responsibilities is a shocker," Simmons said.

Friday's paycheck was just 60 percent of the normal amount. And her 60 percent isn't enough to pay 100 percent of her bills.

"They're not going to take your house from you right away. Your car notes will be late, they're not going to come repossess you right away. But if you do not pay your utilities, they will cut off," she said.

If Reliant isn't paid by Monday, she tells us her lights will be shut off. Her boss gave office employees that reads letter, in part:

"Since we have no funding to pay employees' salaries, we have been required to furlough employees. I would appreciate any assistance you could provide in arranging the postponement, temporary reduction or rescheduling of payments for any current financial obligation."

It's a government document asking creditors to have pity on the people who work for the most powerful government in the world.

But Simmons hasn't had much luck. In fact, Reliant referred her to charities to help pay the bill.

"I am not a charity case, and my job is I help the public," she said.

Reliant has since said they will work with her and others on a case-by-case basis. But that's not the solution to a problem Simmons is paying for but didn't do anything to create.

"We're not playing, we need help," she said.

Late Friday afternoon, we were told Simmons and other employees were granted a two-week extension by Reliant.

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