Furloughed family finding options during shutdown, to help with resource fair

Furloughed workers struggle without pay

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Payday will come Friday for about 800,000 federal employees affected by the partial government shutdown. But, there won’t be any paychecks going into bank accounts.

For many, the shutdown is not about politics, but how to pay rent, bills, insurance for prescriptions or childcare services.

Kristen Randall and her husband are both federal employees and both furloughed.

“Nothing else has stopped, so we are still getting our bills in and there’s no way to pay for it, so it’s going to be difficult," said Randall.

At home, Randall is ‘mom’ to three-year-old Owen. But, when she is at work, Randall is a scientist for the U.S. Department of Interior, monitoring ground water levels, water quality and more.

“I needed to pay for his whole semester for preschool, so that took a big chunk of my savings," said Randall.

Furloughed employees can apply for unemployment, but Randall said it is a “little tricky” compared to others who may not currently be employed.

Randall said they need to apply with payroll information and the people to contact for that are also furloughed.

“It just means that now, I need to somehow get a hold of my paystub that is online and only accessible from my government device," said Randall.

On furlough, Randall and other federal employees can’t - and aren’t supposed to - access their email or use any government-issued device.

After going through all the steps, Randall is one of several people joining together to help organize a resource fair for federal employees Friday.

Representatives from the Pima Area Labor Federation, Arizona AFL-CIO and The American Federation of Government Employees will all be at the event, as well as several other state, federal, county and city resources. Randall said Pima County One Stop, congressional staffers, the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona and more will be able to answer any questions about services or assistance.

The informational event is for both union and non-union federal employees to discover resources to get them through the furlough.

“You never know. Tomorrow, they could all of a sudden come up with a deal and pass something. But, I just feel like nobody knows when it’s going to end and this time, it does feel a bit more serious," said Randall.

- Friday, January 11

- IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) Local Union 570

- 750 S Tucson Boulevard

- Two sessions: 11 a.m. - 1 p.m., 5 p.m. - 7 p.m.

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