Local TSA worker relies on faith during government shutdown

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- We are seeing the mounting toll the government shutdown is having on TSA workers who are required to work even though they're not getting paid.

Its proof this is not just some political battle in Washington, these are people's lives.

Thirty-three-year-old Kelly Johnson already knew what to expect when she got her pay stub Friday morning.

"My direct deposit will be zero dollars," she said.

Her sister's two small children are staying with her temporarily, and her parents - who live with her - have custody of her other sister's teenagers, Jalen and Endiah, whose $1,400 a month tuition she helps pay.

She's been trying to work with her creditors and explaining she may not be able to pay them in time, including Navient who holds her student loan.

"Some are willing to extend it out, but most are not, Navient said, 'Thanks but no thanks, we want our payment, our monthly payment, said Kelly.

She did apply for food stamps and was approved for a little over $100.

Because her job, like that of other TSA workers, is considered essential, she's required to show up for work even if she's not getting paid.

We asked her how she felt about that.

"You can get angry, you're bothered, you're bothered because it doesn't have to be that way," said Kelly.

Still, she says, without money to pay for gas to get to work, or money for childcare, some workers will not be able to get to work on Monday and their option may be to call out sick.

Kelly added, "Those who can are reporting to work, those who are able to because I think management understands everyone is not going to be able to."

For her part, Kelly says what's getting her through this right now is her family who is trying to help juggle the bills and her faith.

"'It's just my faith, you know like, 'Kelly, it's going to be ok, you will make it through this'. But my faith is paramount in this, she said.

Ultimately she says the real test will come Monday when we learn how many TSA workers will or will not be able to get to work after missing their first paycheck.

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