Long Islander recalls hardships of 2013 government shutdown

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SEAFORD -

About 800,000 federal workers are working without a paycheck or are furloughed during the federal government shutdown.

Kevin Reardon says federal air marshals have to lay out a lot of expenses as part of their job before they're reimbursed. Now retired, the Seaford resident went through a 16-day government shutdown in 2013. Besides laying out a lot of expenses, there was the much bigger issue of not getting paid.

"It becomes a choice -- do I pay my mortgage or feed my family," he says. "Do I forgo paying one bill as opposed to another, what's more important?"

For those federal employees affected by the current shutdown, there's is no guarantee of back pay for lost wages. Former Rep. Steve Israel saw several government shutdowns during the eight terms he represented Long Island in Congress. He says federal workers become hostages in a political stalemate.

Meanwhile, a federal employment lawyer argues that furloughed workers are entitled to damages caused by missed pay, such as late fees on missed payments.

Reardon did end up getting back pay from the shutdown he experienced six years ago. His advice to current furloughed workers is to be patient and frugal.

A bipartisan bill to provide back pay to furloughed workers in the current shutdown has already been introduced in Congress.

Friday marked 14 days since the shutdown began.

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