“Go ahead and apply for employment benefits. If you have worked at least 5 consecutive quarters and meet the other standard criteria, we have been advised from the U.S. Department of Labor to accept and process these claims just as any other claim.”
—Miss. Department of Labor Communications Department Catherine Stokes
Many community members have been effected by the government shutdown which has shaken Pearl River County, just as many other communities in the nation, to its very core.
It is estimated that over 5,000 people work at Stennis Space Center, which was included in the government shutdown. While attempting to view the official website to access specific numbers a message was displayed saying it was unavailable due to the shutdown.
Travis Kennedy, the father of two; one in seventh grade and one in fourth grade received the notice on Monday, from Lockheed, to come in for four hours for an information meeting, he said.
“NASA was told Monday to not even come into today,” he said. “Lockheed is a good company and taking care of us.; they are giving us information. Human Resources is being communicative.”
“As far as how long the shutdown will last all he can say is, “There is no way they can give us an answer. Most folks, if not all, are being sent home without pay. Coworkers will band together and try not let anyone go hungry. We are praying it doesn’t go beyond a week. If it goes much past this it is going to really be felt.”
Hugh McDonald, employed with the Government Printing Office (GPO), is another community member effected by the shutdown.
McDonald said they were given contact information before the furlough actually began.
“The GPO has done everything in its power to have this go as smoothly as possible,” said McDonald. “They were as prepared as they could be for a government shutdown and did everything in their power to to have this situation go as smoothly as possible. We left armed with information and contact numbers.”
Miss. Department of Labor Communications Department member Catherine Stokes instructed furloughed employees to, “Go ahead and apply for employment benefits. If you have worked at least 5 consecutive quarters and meet the other standard criteria, we have been advised from the U.S. Department of Labor to accept and process these claims just as any other claim.”