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Family Dips Into Retirement Savings To Make Ends Meet During Shutdown

SARAH MCCAMMON, HOST:

Now we turn to the government shutdown. We're on Day 23, making it the longest in American history. Today, we're going to hear from Kami of Texas. She's asking that we don't use her last name because of the nature of her husband's job. He's an essential federal employee and is currently working without pay.

KAMI: We've used whatever we had in our bank account to pay our last mortgage payment and our last car payment and our last utilities payment and, of course, to go to the grocery store and stuff. So we're just - it's the stress right now. In the week after the shutdown started, I had to have an HVAC repair person come out because our heater quit working, and that was $500 we didn't see having to spend. So hopefully, nothing like that will come up again while this is going on.

A couple days ago, we sent off paperwork to borrow some out of his retirement to cover ourselves since we don't know when this shutdown will end. We will be penalized. In the past, I believe they've offered a penalty-free withdrawal. We haven't seen that letter come across yet. And we're withdrawing 11,000 at this point. I work for our local school district, and my income alone cannot support our entire family.

Our kids - we have an older son who understands what's going on. We have a younger son who doesn't really understand. And, unfortunately, he's overheard me on the phone leaving messages for members of Congress. And he twisted what I said in his head, and he was worried that he mentioned to a friend of mine that we weren't going to have food to eat. And that made me more upset. So we just really need a resolution.

MCCAMMON: That was Kami talking about how the government shutdown was affecting her family. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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