Fort Polk civilians on furlough, tighten financial belts

Fort Polk civilians on furlough, tighten financial belts

FORT POLK, LA (KPLC) - Day four of the government shutdown and still no decision from Congress.

Meanwhile in Leesville, Fort Polk civilians on furlough are tightening their financial belts to stay afloat.

Normally Jeff England would be at work in his office on a Friday. But because of the government shutdown, he's on furlough.

"We all came in on the first furlough day to file paperwork and we got our letters that day and we all had to sign our letters and then we were sent home," said England.

England is a civilian employee at Fort Polk. His wife also works there but she's an accepted employee and not furloughed.

"Lucky for us she's still going to work every day but I've been furloughed so I've been basically laid off. So our two income household has effectively been cut in half," explained England.

And he's not alone. Kim Reischling, Command Information Officer at Fort Polk, breaks down the number of furloughs.

"About 2,400, it's about 80% of our civilian workforce," said Reischling.

And impacts are felt in other ways at the base. Some services remain limited and the commissary closed.

To help, Reischling is circulating information and has posted several links on their website.

Also, "those civilian employees laid off are eligible for unemployment compensation," said Reischling.

But England says that's not a helpful option for him, "that's going to be like 1/10 of what my paycheck is and if I do get anything, more than likely they're going to make me pay it back when I get back to work anyway."

And this isn't the only furlough in recent memory.

"We just came off of an administrative furlough. In fact, I think the last paycheck last week was the first full paycheck many civilian employees have received for a number of weeks. So for this to happen so soon after that, it is a blow," said Reischling.

While England remains optimistic, the bills keep coming.

"We are living on our saved income for now, but that's not going to last very long," said England.

Copyright 2013 KPLC. All rights reserved.

For information on Furlough Assistance Resources: