Coast Guard members get one-time paycheck, but future payments uncertain amid government shutdown

PLEASANT HILL, California -- Amber and Christine Kroll's daughter were laughing and smiling as they played together on Friday night, but there was stress behind their mother's smiles.

"We are a proud Coast Guard family, but there are sacrifices we have to make, and we didn't think not getting a paycheck was going to be one of them," Amber said.

Christine and Amber are sisters-in-law. Their husbands are both members of the U.S. Coast Guard, the only branch of the military not getting paid during the government shutdown. All other branches of the military operate under the Department of Defense. The Coast Guard is under the Department of Homeland Security.

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"Our husbands are still going to work every day, staying late, going early, doing everything they always do," Christine said. "But, we don't know for certain if they're going to get their scheduled paycheck."

Nationally, about 42,000 active duty members are working without pay.

"People are afraid they're not going to make rent and that they're not going to pay their bills," Christine said.

A one-time action has allowed members of the Coast Guard to get their Dec. 31 paycheck, but everything else is up in the air.

"While great in the moment, it's just a band-aid," Amber said. "We have to figure out what's going to happen if they can't come to a resolution by the next paycheck."

It's common for military families to only have one source of income, and the promise of getting paid back for missed checks is great, but doesn't help.

"Yes, we will most likely get back paid," Christine said. "But, do I look at my child and say, 'I'll feed you eventually?'"

Christine and Amber said the constant moving also makes things tough.

"I worked at a preschool and I had to give that job up. And then in Oregon, I got another job at a preschool I loved and I had to give that job up," Christine said.

There are some resources in place to help military families financially. Internally, Coast Guard Mutual Assistance has offered support for junior enlisted and civilian staff. Specifics on what they're offering can be found here.

Several banks are offering loans to Coast Guard members to help them pay their upcoming bills during the lapse in funding.
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