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Government shutdown puts veteran and his wife in financial turmoil

Government shutdown puts veteran and his wife in financial turmoil

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - He's served overseas, but a disabled veteran and his wife faced a new challenge on the homefront Tuesday: how to pay their bills.

Brad Staton is a civil servant at Peterson Air Force Base. Staton and other civilian Department of Defense workers are facing furloughs at Peterson Air Force Base and Fort Carson.

Peterson Air Force Base has approximately 2,200 appropriated-fund civilians facing furloughs as a result of the government shutdown. There have 600 civilians who have been "excepted" from furlough at Peterson to "accomplish essential activities."

"The current funding status is extremely disruptive to the Air Force. While we are attempting to minimize negative impacts, we will feel the impact of this shutdown at all levels," said Lt. Stacy Glaus with Public Affairs at the base in an email.

"My husband Brad was a medic in the Air Force for 24 years," said Krista Staton as she looked at pictures of her family in the living room.

Staton is a disabled veteran. He carried heavy loads on his back as a medic. As a result, he has problems with his back and spine. He takes medication daily; the condition does put limitations on Staton.

After he retired from the military, he took a job with a government contractor. He was laid off. He was unemployed until December, when he was offered a job at Peterson.

"He took a $15,000 pay cut to take that job but we needed any job at that," said Krista. "He was hired in December, and in February they started talking about furloughs."

Her husband was forced to take six furlough days under sequestration.

"There was six paychecks that he was short," said Krista. "When you're talking about 30 percent of your pay being gone and we are a one-income family, that is a huge chunk for us to absorb."

The Staton family weathered those government furloughs, but it drained their savings. 

"It's just been an ongoing thing wondering when our paycheck is going to come and what's going to happen to it," said Krista.

Things haven't been easy for Krista and her husband. They lost their home when the housing market crashed.  They spent four years in a rental home rebuilding their savings and their credit. Their credit scores recovered and the couple bought a home in a subdivision near Powers Boulevard and Woodmen Road. They moved in two months ago.  Now they wonder how they'll afford payments on their home under the government shutdown.

"I don't think it's unique to veterans and I don't think our families think that we deserve more than anybody else but it's very sad that they can kind of play chicken with our paychecks," said Krista.

Krista said she understands arguments on both sides of the aisle. Still, she's frustrated.

"We are one of so many that this is happening to, it's really creating a moral problem for the people who have sacrificed," said Krista.

Krista and her husband decided she would stay at home to raise their adopted daughter.  However, that might not be an option anymore under the government shutdown.

"If my husband is going to continue to work for the government," said Krista. "I'm going to have to go back to work.  We can't take this uncertainty anymore. We are going to have to build a cushion to protect us when this happens."

Krista said Congress needs to reach an agreement soon or her family will run out of options and money.

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