Some federal employees still haven’t received back pay from government shutdown

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KITTY HAWK, N.C. (WAVY) — Time is running out for lawmakers, who have until Friday to stop another government shutdown. 

Meanwhile, some families are still hurting from the last shutdown.

10 On Your Side talked with a Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, family that still hasn’t received their back pay for weeks on furlough.

We reached out to the Department of Homeland Security, which said the delay is due to some issues with the internal payroll system.

MORE: ‘Agreement in principle’ reached over border security in bid to avert another shutdown

While lawmakers work to avoid another government shutdown, the Popp family said they’re still trying to recover from the first one.

“You don’t realize how fragile your budget is until you go without a paycheck for an entire month,” said Renee Popp.

Popp’s husband is a federal civilian employee at the Coast Guard base in Elizabeth City. She said they got the first check for back pay fairly fast, but then the emails started.

“Sorry, there’s been a delay. We should have it to you in a couple of days,” Popp said. “OK. Understandable, so we waited and then that day came and went. This has happened three times this week, including today.”

Popp started making calls to government agencies, even calling the White House for answers.

“I need to be sure that President Trump understands that not everyone has gotten their paychecks,” she said.

She didn’t have much luck, so she contacted 10 On Your Side. We reached out to the Department of Homeland Security, the agency that the Coast Guard is under. 

In an email response, DHS said out of about 240,000 DHS employees, 98 percent received their full pay within a week after the shutdown ended. However, we’re told “internal payroll system issues caused the vast majority” of cases where DHS employees did not receive their back pay on time.

“It is a very stressful and very scary time when you’re not getting a paycheck,” Popp said.

In the email response, DHS said according to the National Finance Center, those employees will receive the rest of their back pay over the next few days.

Popp said she’s not holding her breath.

“I don’t know if it will come, if it won’t come. We’ll see,” she said.

A DHS representative said their number one priority right now is making sure all employees receive their back pay and they are working with the National Finance Center until all payroll issues are resolved.   

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