Faces of the Shutdown II - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Faces of the Shutdown II

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – As the partial government shutdown continues, National Guard Sgt. Kimberly Bratic and her husband worry about how they'll make ends meet with no income.

"Pay the bills first? Or do I pay a minimum of the bills? Do we feed ourselves first, then pay the bills? Do we go without food to pay the bills?" says Bratic's husband, Army Reserve SSgt. Ljubomir Bratic. "It's difficult."

Tuesday's paycheck was the last full paycheck the Bratics will get before money starts to dwindle because of shutdown furloughs. Kimberly and Ljubomir, both Afghanistan veterans,  were furloughed from their military jobs on Monday, and are not sure when they'll be able to go back to work.

"The people who are making the decisions are still earning their paycheck," says Kimberly. "I don't think they realize the bottom line of who they're hurting."

Each month, the Bratics bring home a combined income of about $3,400. Student loan payments consume nearly 20 percent of their take-home pay, and after taking care of all their other bills, they're left with no more than $400, and knowing that the next check they see will be only half of their normal earnings stresses them out. "I haven't slept the last couple of nights wondering how this is going to go," says Kimberly.

On Tuesday, the Bratics sat down to revise their budgets, and made calls to creditors to ask for delayed payments. Some creditors already had hardship plans in place for those affected by the shutdown, others said the Bratics would have to go delinquent before they would assist.

Navigating daily life under the shutdown has been taxing, and has unveiled emotions the Bratics never thought they would feel for their country. "It hurts. We've done a lot for the country," says Kimberly. "I have the American flag that I hang out in front of the house everyday. When the shutdown happened yesterday, I came home and I took the flag down. I'm frustrated."

Emerald Morrow is a reporter with WLNS-TV. Like her on Facebook, Follow her on Twitter or email her at emorrow@wlns.com.

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