Local Coast Guard Families Miss Paychecks As Shutdown Continues

Jan 16, 2019

More than 40,000 active-duty Coast Guard members missed their scheduled paycheck Tuesday, as the only military branch to work without pay during the government shutdown.

Unlike the other parts of the military, which fall under the still-funded Department of Defense, the Coast Guard falls under the Department of Homeland Security, which is at the center of the funding dispute.

Additionally, many of the members of the Coast Guard's civilian workforce have been furloughed without pay until further notice, with a small fraction still working as essential personnel.

On the First Coast, several hundred Coast Guard families are being affected by the shutdown.

Shannon Beattie is a local wife and mom whose husband is a Coast Guard officer stationed in Mayport.

Beattie said Tuesday on First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross her family has been luckier than some.

“Luckily, we are members of a credit union, Navy Federal, who has stepped into assist us in covering my husband's pay until the government starts paying us again.” said Beattie.

Related: Listen to the full interview with Beattie on Wednesday's First Coast Connect

It’s been a stressful time for the Beattie, who has two little boys. “I didn't want to just sit on the sidelines and watch everything unfold. So I went out and started looking for a part-time job, and I landed a seasonal position at Lowe's working in the garden center, Beattie said.

“I recognize the anxiety and uncertainty this situation places on you and your family, and we are working closely with service organizations on your behalf,” said Coast Guard Admiral Karl L. Schultz in a statement to all Coast Guard personnel.

The American Red Cross has a hotline for service members that need help. Called the Hero Care Center, members of any active service branch can call 1-877-272-7337.  A general Coast Guard call center hotline is also available at 866-772-8724 and the Coast Guard website has additional information, including a Q & A mailbox.

A variety of local organizations have also announced assistance for government workers that need help.

Among the latest is BEAM, which is acommunity-based organization helping low income residents at the Beaches. It's goal is to make sure no Beaches resident goes hungry or is haunted by the fear of eviction.

In addition to its normal services, BEAM is increasing deliveries to its USO partner Mayport Road food pantry. It is also looking at providing additional assistance on a case-by-case basis for things such as rent or utility support to government workers or others affected by the shutdown that may need assistance.  For information contact BEAM at  (904) 241-2326.

VyStar Credit Union is also offering assistance to affected government workers with such things as emergency loans and waiving early withdrawal penalties on certificates. More information is available on VyStar's website or by calling (904) 777-6000 or 1 (800) 445-6289, option 3.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org, 904-358-6349 or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.

Heather Schatz can be reached at hschatz@wjct.org, 904-358-6334 or on Twitter at @heatherschatz