Government shutdown: Furloughed employees worried about paying bills

WASHINGTON (WJLA) - With paychecks now in limbo, families across the D.C. area are scrambling to find a way to keep paying their bills on time and many are concerned about much more than a late mortgage payment.

“We didn’t see it coming, you know?” says Nodira Hughes.

Hughes' husband Ryan is a wounded warrior. The Marine Corps sergeant did two tours in Iraq and a third in Afghanistan, but he may be locked out of his Oct. 24 retirement ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial.

“It’s not only about a retirement ceremony that we can postpone or cancel,” he says. “We aren’t worried about that. It’s more about our dream home to raise family in.”

They should be weeks away from closing, but can’t get the government documents the bank wants during the shutdown. Ryan’s civilian job with a government contractor is on hold, too, until Congress funds the government.

“We are stressed, of course. We are trying to support each other.”

And while the Hughes' are hoping they will soon have a mortgage, many furloughed workers are starting to worry about paying theirs.

Bank of America, Wells Fargo and PNC all say they are working with affected customers to find solutions on a case-by-case basis.

“We are monitoring the situation closely and are prepared to help any customer facing financial difficulty as a result of the government shutdown," Anne Pace, of Bank of America, announced in a statement. "Every situation is different, so if customers are having difficulty we ask that they contact us so we can work with them on a solution that makes sense for their situation.”

Local credit unions Pentagon Federal and Navy Federal are also offering help by waiving fees and offering loan assistance. Hyundai is allowing furloughed workers to defer payments during the shutdown.

“While they don’t have a paycheck coming in there’s at least one bill they won’t have to worry about,” says Kathleen Hennessey of Hyundai.

The Hughes' just hope the shutdown is itself shut down quickly.

“People like my husband who served this country for 12 years as a Marine, what is he getting now as a thank you?”