JAMESTOWN, NC -- Robert Benson, a soldier who came back home from deployment in May, says he's been told by the government his new job with the North Carolina National Guard isn't essential and has been furloughed as part of the government shutdown.
Benson says he was also told via email he shouldn't expect a paycheck for a while - until the U.S. government is fully back in operation.
"What do I do next? Who's going to help me? Because, I've done what I was supposed to do. I showed up to work every day. I put in my time. I do the right thing. I provide for my family. And now, you're going to tell me that your job is insignificant. We can't afford to pay you so just go home and we'll figure it out," he said, visibly frustrated.
Every minute the U.S. Government remains closed, is a minute Benson says his family can't afford.
"The lights still have to get paid for, car still has to get paid for, gas still has to get paid for, food still has to get paid for but there's no checks coming,' he said.
To add, it's the beginning of the month and rent is due on the Bensons home.
"We rent our house here and so I had to go to my landlord and say I wrote you a check in good faith that check has to be delayed a little bit. Can you hold off on cashing that check a little bit," Benson said.
Until the shutdown, the veteran was helping other soldiers find jobs.
But now he's caught in the middle of a situation he normally helps others work through.
"My country can't afford to pay me --- after everything I've been through and all the sacrifices that myself, my family, my fellow soldiers have been through?" Benson asked rhetorically.
His paycheck for weeks of work he's already put in still limbo. The people who are supposed to approve it, have been furloughed, as well.
Whether his check will come in on Thursday like it normally does every two weeks is anyone's guess - and lawmakers' job to figure out.
"I don't know what's next because I don't know what they are doing," he said. "At some point somebody has to be willing to cross that line and allow us, people who you represent to not continue to be affected by this."
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