"I actually applied for unemployment on Monday," said Stann Kaplan, an enforcement analyst at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, to CNN on Friday. "When I submitted the file, they asked me why I did not sign up earlier, I just said I would just wait to see if we get paid or if the shutdown will end." Unemployment. Employees who are considered essential and currently work without pay are not eligible.
June Bencebi, a case manager at the New York federal prison, is one of them.
"We are in the same situation as a refugee and we are not being paid, and I think we should be able to gain unemployment because we have no income in our homes," Bencebi said. Bencebi says many of her colleagues called out of work and replicated a pattern that was seen in the Transportation Security Administration.
and jelly sandwiches for dinner, "said Bencebi: "Once on Saturday and Sunday, I think more people will not be able to get to work because they do not have the money – the majority of our employees live paycheck to paycheck."
The American Federation of Government Employees – – The largest workers' union in the Confederation – says many of its members have already applied for unemployment and expect this number to continue rising if the deadlock does not end.
Larry Hirsch is vice president of AFGE Local 913 in New York and is a senior representative for planning and development of HUD. So far he has been able to stay afloat without unemployment insurance – but that could change if the shutdown wears off.
"If we're here in the spring, I'll think about it," Hirsch said. "I want to work, I want to do my job five days a week, we are in the civil service, you want to serve the public."
Kate Trafecante of CNN contributed to this report.