The current government shutdown has left social science teacher Davina Dominguez concerned about her family’s financial future.
During the government shutdown, which started on Dec. 22, the majority of government services were halted and government workers were sent home without work or pay. Alongside this, federal employees who are considered “essential,” such as air traffic controllers or those working for the Department of Homeland Security, are still required to work and will not be paid until sometime after the shutdown is over.
This lack of pay poses a potential problem for families: how will they pay their bills? With no end in sight for the shutdown, Dominguez, whose husband works as an essential federal employee, has become increasingly stressed for her family’s financial well-being.
“We’ve been fortunate enough to save a little bit [of money],” Dominguez said. “We typically save for the summer … so we’ve been able to dip a little into that. But now the main concern is I don’t know how much longer we can [go without pay].”
Last week was the first time her husband did not receive his scheduled paycheck. Without this additional financial support, Dominguez worries that her family will not be able to pay for their mortgage and daycare services for her toddler, among other bills.
“We’ve tried calling our mortgage, and they said they will not extend [the credit deadline],” Dominguez said. “[My husband’s] department gave him a letter to offer to creditors to go ahead and see if they would give us a break. And so far, any creditors that we have reached out to said absolutely no [to extending the deadline].”
The financial worry caused by the shutdown has also seeped into her family life. Dominguez said she could see their stress changing their family interactions.
“Decisions, [spending] decisions—everything’s being questioned,” Dominguez said. “Before we would be able to go off and we wouldn’t question either one of our spendings. Now it’s like ‘why did you buy that?’ and ‘maybe we shouldn’t go out and eat here or there.’”
Dominguez said that she hopes “a resolution [will] happen very quickly” but feels that “neither side is going to budge.” Although she is worried about her own family, she is also thinking about how the shutdown may be hurting other families.
“I know other families are really concerned about whether they’ll be able to make it through the next week,” Dominguez said. “I know that [last] week the families that we know of are really starting to sweat and really become concerned with [the shutdown].”