Furloughed IRS Employee On 20-Day Shutdown: 'My Workload Is Not Taking A Break'06:08
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The Internal Revenue Service building is viewed in Washington, DC, on April 18, 2018. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)
The Internal Revenue Service building is viewed in Washington, DC, on April 18, 2018. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

As the government shutdown drags into its 20th day, federal workers are anxious about missing payday, which would normally come on Friday.

Among the many furloughed workers preparing to miss their paychecks is Krystle Kirkpatrick, a contact representative for the Internal Revenue Service from Ogden, Utah, who has two children.

“Right now we're not working and not being paid at all,” Kirkpatrick tells Here & Now’s Robin Young. “Unless that back-pay bill passes unanimously, then we're not going to receive any funds.”

And despite her husband’s income as a machine operator for Westinghouse Electrical Corporation, the family won’t have enough money to get by, according to Kirkpatrick.

“We've got mortgages, car payments. My husband has an autoimmune disease. We can't just not fill medications,” she says. “And he's been working overtime to make up for the money that we're missing.

“I just don't see how we could make it work. We've got some money in savings, but that's not going to last forever.”

Interview Highlights

On how her mortgage company said they would not allow late payments, despite the shutdown

“I did contact my mortgage company, and I asked them if they would be able to work with me as far as paying once I got paid, and I said, 'I've got this letter from the IRS. I'm affected by the government shutdown. Can you work with me?' And they simply said that a skipped payment or a late payment is — without any penalty or ding to my credit --- not something they do. They were not willing to work with me. …

“If I paid it late, I was going to pay a penalty that would make my mortgage payment even larger, and then I was going to have a ding to my credit, and we aren't the kind of people that pay our bills late. So that really would truly hurt my heart."

"We feel like pawns in a fight that we didn't start and we have no control over."

Krystle Kirkpatrick

On federal employees, like those in the U.S. Coast Guard, who have not been receiving paychecks and have been told to try and get a second job, like babysitting or dog walking

“We've heard those. We heard … ‘see if you can barter carpentry work or painting,’ and that's just not something your mortgage company is willing to do. So we did have to dip into our savings to cover our mortgage payment.

“The [U.S. Office of Personnel Management] has issued some letters, and in those letters, it says, 'Can I barter?' Like, 'To compromise on my rent or to get a discount on my rent, can I paint?' Something of that nature to help lower my rent.”

On how it feels to be in the middle of the government shutdown

“We feel like pawns in a fight that we didn't start and we have no control over. But the job we do is important, and we take pride in it. Everyone at the Ogden location, we work hard. I think the job I do is important, and I know that while I'm sitting at home, my workload is not taking a break. It is just piling up, and those are all those taxpayers that need my help, and I need to be there to help them.”


Chris Bentley produced this interview, and Peter O'Dowd edited it for broadcast. Jackson Cote adapted it for the web.

This segment aired on January 10, 2019.

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