How the government shutdown is affecting Americans

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4:21 p.m. ET, January 6, 2019

The shutdown is holding up life-saving treatments

Sarah Doerr says her 6-year-old son has a rare, neurodegenerative disease called PKAN. She says the clinical trial for a potentially life-saving treatment is in the final stages of FDA review and approval, and that she was hoping the trial would start in early 2019.

"Now that much of the FDA is shuttered, we don’t know when the approval process will be back on track. A month or two delay could be a matter of life or death to kids with this disease," she says.

Tony says he runs a drug company with a drug licensed from the National Institutes of Health.

"We can't move forward with one of our life-saving cancer treatments because we can't sign an updated license agreement since the government is shut down," he says.
4:12 p.m. ET, January 6, 2019

She says her husband should be 'essential' enough to get paid

Kimberlee Roberts, a stay-at-home mother of three children, says her husband works for Customs and Border Protection. She says he has to show up for work without getting paid, and "has been forced on overtime shifts because of short staffing."

"We are just normal people who make enough to live. Missing paychecks, however, would be catastrophic to our family. We don't appreciate being used as pawns in a political game. It may not affect Congress to keep the government closed, but it definitely affects the regular family just trying to pay our bills," Roberts writes.

If my husband is considered 'essential' enough to need to work while the government is closed, he should be 'essential' enough to pay."
4:21 p.m. ET, January 6, 2019

Some are considering other jobs

Steven Potter says he's been a federal employee for three years. This is his second time being furloughed. He writes:

"I was lucky enough to have been able to pay my rent this month, but with other bills beginning to stack up, I’m in the middle of deciding whether to file for unemployment or become a Lyft driver just to stay afloat ..." 

Gloria writes:

"I am required to work with no pay. How long do they think people can do this? I will get another job and walk away from this because I have no other choice."

Meanwhile, Steve writes that as a federal law enforcement officer, he still must work without pay.

"For non-essential employers [SIC], they do not have to go to work so they can get other temporary employment. We, on the other hand, have to continue to go to work, and therefore have no time to seek other employment so we can stay on top of our bills."

Steve says he has had to call his creditors to have bills postponed, and has also asked his landlord to postpone his rent payment.

"The unknown has been the hardest for me and several other employees, not knowing when we will be getting paid next."
3:57 p.m. ET, January 6, 2019

The shutdown may impact this woman catching up on her mortgage

"Every single year I have to skip my Wells Fargo mortgage payment of $560 on our modest $69,000 home, just to afford Christmas for our 3 sons," Brandi Taylor writes.

Taylor says her husband, a former USN Airman, has one lung and "has been out of work since diagnosis." She says they can't simply find an extra $600.

We always repay the missed payment with February or March's tax refund. If I cannot repay that missed payment by then, foreclosure is a very real possibility."
3:47 p.m. ET, January 6, 2019

IRS worker of 28 years says she may have to figure out what she's going to do

I had a reality check on January 1."

Lorie McCann is a furloughed federal worker. On January 1, she paid her bills for the month and realized that the money was from her last paycheck.

"It is very stressful," she says.

McCann has been an IRS worker for 28 years. She tells CNN's Fredricka Whitfield that if the shutdown goes on much longer, she'll have to make some tough decisions. That could include filing for unemployment, or looking for a second job.

"I am going to have to figure out what I'm going to do to sustain my lifestyle," McCann says. "And just to be able to eat, honestly."

Watch the moment:

3:23 p.m. ET, January 6, 2019

He needs his tax refund for surgery

James Laurick says he needs surgery. He says he was planning on using his tax refund to pay his insurance co-payment.

I can't afford my surgery until I get my tax refund!"  

Because the IRS is among the federal agencies affected by the shutdown, tax refunds maybe be delayed this year.

Laurick says he will likely have to wait "in pain every day" for his tax refund.

3:39 p.m. ET, January 6, 2019

The shutdown is taking a toll on prison workers

Some employees at federal prisons are considered "essential," and required to work without pay through the shutdown.

Here are some stories from prison workers and their family members.

Samantha writes:

"My ex-husband is a federal officer at a prison. I am a third year teacher. I heavily rely on my ex's income to support our 4-year-old daughter, as I am primary caretaker. I cannot receive child support for the month of January because he is not getting paid."

Nik writes:

"My husband works for the Federal Bureau of Prisons. I am in school full time, as is our son. Not getting even one paycheck will affect our wellbeing. Not knowing when he will be paid again is a stress on our family. I am not sure if we can afford my tuition as well as my son's. I may have to put my education on hold just so my son can go."

Sean writes:

"I am a DOJ Bureau of Prisons employee who has been working without compensation since the shutdown began. My family of four relies solely on my federal income to provide shelter, food, transportation, and utilities, along with other expenses families face. Each day which passes during this shutdown ultimately contributes to the increasing risk of staff and inmate safety at each institution in the Bureau of Prisons."

Lindsey writes:

"My husband works as a correctional officer at a federal prison. He’s been forced to work without pay, and unable to miss any work. If he doesn’t get his check this Friday as he’s supposed to, I don’t know how we will cover expenses. Both of our sons birthdays are this month. How do I explain this to them??"
3:17 p.m. ET, January 6, 2019

Home buyers and sellers feel uncertain amid the shutdown

Katie Venable says she is a high school special education math teacher and first-time home buyer. Venable says she is planning to use a USDA loan but can't have the loan completed because of the shutdown.

"Due to extended length, seller has an option to eventually change their mind if the shutdown exceeds the anticipated closing date."

Lauren Dutrow writes that the buyer of her home has a USDA Direct Loan and cannot get funds released to purchase it because the agent coordinating their loan is on furlough due to the shutdown. Dutrow says she has to sell her home to purchase her new one, and says she may lose out if they keep having to extend the settlement.

"And to top it off," Dutrow continues, "Even if they are willing to extend settlement again, it will cost us even more because we will have to pay to extend our locked interest rate on our conventional loan with our lender if we don't settle by the 9th. This affects more than just people getting time off."

Jenny Wilcox says she is a young parent with a foster child who was getting ready to close on her first mortgage in December using USDA.

"Now we are stuck with no home and waiting in limbo."
2:43 p.m. ET, January 6, 2019

The shutdown could affect tribal nations

Dante B. Halleck says he works at a federal hospital that serves a tribal nation. If the shutdown continues for months, Halleck says that employees might leave.

"There are very few people who can live without a paycheck for months, let alone a year. I am already looking to backup plans in the private sector. I have to -- my wife and I just had a new baby," he says.

Halleck says the shutdown could be detrimental to Native American communities.

The impact? The loss of a service that is vital to an underserved population in the United States. If this shutdown lasts and people start to quit, at-risk patients could suffer the ultimate consequence."

According to Kaiser Health News, the shutdown has put some health services for Native Americans on hold.

The Indian Health Service will continue to provide services that "meet the immediate needs of patients, medical staff and medical facilities" during the shutdown, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

But other programs for tribal nations are taking a hit.

IHS won't be funding grants to tribal health programs and health clinics run by the Office of Urban Indian Health Program.