The Department of Homeland Security has sent its unpaid employees a form letter to show to their creditors, explaining its workers may not be able to pay their bills because of the government shutdown.
The letter, essentially a plea for leniency, thanks creditors for “patience and compassion” toward employees and states that the situation is beyond their control.
The shutdown is now in its 24th day and has left hundreds of thousands of federal workers without a regular income. Most of the DHS’ 245,000 employees are classified as essential, meaning they must continue to work despite not receiving a paycheck.
Federal workers, including DHS employees such as Transportation Security Administration officers, told HuffPost that the prolonged shutdown is putting them in dire financial situations as they struggle to make rent or mortgage payments, deal with medical bills and even pay for food. Some employees are taking on debt or being forced to find extra work. The number of TSA workers calling out of work sick has increased during the shutdown, causing some TSA checkpoints in Miami and Houston to close in recent days because of lack of staff.
The partial shutdown is now the longest in U.S. history as President Donald Trump refuses to give up on his demand for more than $5 billion to fund a border wall with Mexico — a key campaign promise that he vowed Mexico would pay for.
Read the full DHS letter below: