As I’ve mentioned before, I am extremely fortunate in that I have sufficient savings to ride out the shutdown should it continue for a while. I also have no debts other than my mortgage and no dependent children or pets. However, two colleagues of mine have problematical situations. They are not dire, life-and-death crises, but I’m concerned about them and hope that this shutdown ends so that these two individuals can move on.
The first colleague has three young children and a six-figure student debt. This colleague is married and the spouse is also employed, in the nonprofit sector, so there is at least one income still coming in. However, having one’s family income cut in half is no picnic. I suspect that a student loan payment can be delayed, but interest on the debt may accumulate. A second problem facing my colleague is what to do about daycare. Paying expensive day care costs seems foolish if one parent is out of work. However, countervailing that is the risk that one might lose the child’s slot in the day care. Also, my colleague does not know when we’ll all be called to report back to work. So the day care costs need to be paid.
The second colleague, at full retirement age, put in paperwork to retire on January 2 under the old Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). This link explains how the shutdown is affecting those who planned to retire but were in furlough status. It appears people in that situation will receive all benefits retroactively. The question is how long it will take for the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to process everything and does this employee have enough in savings to ride it out until payments start to come in?
These two examples are real people. Highly educated people whose worlds are completely turned upside down by this very long and unnecessary shutdown.