6 months ago
For more please see the Instagram story. Vicki Ibarra, 45, had built her adult life on the principle of self-sufficiency — raising two children by herself, adopting her teenage niece, devoting her career to a government job because it promised meaningful work and 9-to-5 dependability. Her salary was modest at about $35,000 a year, so she often stayed late to work overtime. Even when her credit cards were maxed out, she’d been able to make at least the minimum payments. But when the government shutdown at 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 22, everything changed. It forced her to miss one paycheck and then another, leaving her with no income for the first time since she turned 18. The result was a missed car payment, which forced her lease into default because she was already behind. Next was her cable bill. Then came two unpaid credit cards bills and a rent check that was almost three weeks overdue. When the federal government had finally called her back to work after 35 days, she wondered how she could afford to get there. Now another potential shutdown is just days away.