CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The squabbling among leaders in Congress is holding up more than the federal budget.
The recent government shutdown and resulting furloughs are going to make it difficult to balance a household budget, too.
More than 800,000 federal employees nationwide have been furloughed as a result of Monday night's government shutdown, including many in West Virginia. They aren't allowed to work, return voice messages or check their email, and will not be paid until lawmakers pass a budget bill.
Kevin Brown woke up Tuesday with two homes, two mortgages and no paycheck.
Brown, 52, works at Summersville Lake as a park ranger for the Army Corps of Engineers.
He recently purchased a home in Summersville to be closer to work and save a little money on gas. He has yet to sell his previous house in Fayetteville, however, and has been paying both mortgages since May.
It seemed like an acceptable risk at the time.
"You think you're going to be gainfully employed for that time period," Brown said.
He said he could wait out the shutdown, as long as it doesn't last more than a few weeks. If the furloughs last any longer, as Brown suspect they might, he'll have to look for another job.
"I think a lot of people didn't think it was going to happen, a lot of employees didn't. We've gone to the edge before," Brown said. "The stress of it wouldn't be too bad if we knew it was going to be resolved. We just keep going from one crisis to another."
He said government jobs were once the most dependable around, but that's not true anymore.
Some federal employees will be eligible for unemployment compensation while the furlough drags on.
Beth Carenbauer, acting director of unemployment compensation for Workforce West Virginia, said federal workers should wait until next week before applying for benefits, however.
"The reason for that is two-fold. We want to see how long their layoff period will be, and we will be able to get better processes in place when they do come in," she said.
The federal government employs more than 23,000 West Virginians.
Carenbauer said if only half of those employees are eligible for unemployment, it would create a big rush at Workforce West Virginia's offices.
David Watson, Workforce West Virginia's assistant director of benefit and technical support, said employees probably would have to wait a week after applying before receiving any unemployment checks.
The money will not come from the state's pocketbook, however. Carenbauer said any payments for furloughed federal workers would come from the federal unemployment fund, which will not be affected by the government shutdown.
Brown said he's not sure yet if he qualifies for unemployment, but will sign up if he can.
"I have to," he said.
Mike Williams, 22, said the shutdown might cancel his plans to visit family in the next few weeks.
Williams, who graduated college in April, moved to Charleston from Michigan a few months ago to accept a federal job.
A devoted political junkie, Williams said he went to bed Monday night "pretty confident" the government would shut down. By Tuesday morning, breaking news alerts on his smartphone confirmed his guess.
"My first job right out the door, and all of a sudden I'm furloughed. It's disappointing," he said.
He was allowed four hours in his office Tuesday morning to collect his belongings, change his email and voicemail auto-response messages, and return home.
Williams depleted a lot of his savings moving to West Virginia. He had planned to drive up to Michigan in a few weeks and visit his family, but won't be able to make the trip if the furlough continues for very long.
"The longer this goes on, it's going to take a toll. And it's up to Congress whether or not we federal employees get back pay," he said.
He just paid his rent, so there's not much more to go around. He could get a job, but his agency has rules about seeking other employment, and there's no one in the office to explain those rules.
"There's really nothing else you can do," he said. "I just need to sit at home and watch Netflix."
Furloughed federal employees are not even allowed to turn on government-issued laptops and cellphones while the government is shut down.
Government agencies even sent out emails instructing workers they would not be allowed in their offices to take care of plants, retrieve food from the office refrigerator or access any personal items left on government property.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provided a template away message for employees' voicemail and email during the shutdown: "Due to the absence of either a (fiscal year) 2014 appropriation or continuing resolution for the Department of Health and Human Services, I am out of the office on furlough and I am not able to take your call."