Furlough hits local couple twice as hard Eldersburg spouses both work for Social Security

November 17, 1995|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,SUN STAFF

The federal furlough has David and Loretta Bowers doubly worried.

They have worked at the Social Security Administration in Woodlawn for 30 years apiece, and when the government closed up shop Tuesday it deprived the Bowers family of not just one paycheck, but two.

Now they find themselves at home in Eldersburg, anxiously awaiting a call to return.

"There's this myth that federal employees are well off," said Mr. Bowers, who works as a management analyst with the Office of Disability. "We're just like everybody else, working to take care of our families."

The Bowers are among the 13,400 SSA employees across Maryland who were sent home from work because of a budget stalemate between President Clinton and congressional leaders. Yesterday, the president said that 6,400 of those employees -- mainly those who process claims and applications -- would be recalled to work Monday.

But the Bowerses, who hold administrative jobs, doubt they will be included.

They worried about the impending due date of their son Eric's tuition bill at Towson State University. They worried about having to dip into their savings if the shutdown continues. They worried.

"The longer this goes on, the more scared people get," Mrs. Bowers said. "It has made me more aware of the many people who have years of experience and then get laid off. You sympathize with them because you know what it feels like to suddenly not be able to work." Mr. Bowers works with budgets and understands the ins and outs of the federal shutdown -- but that doesn't make him any less concerned.

Mr. Bowers said he and his wife look forward to the day they can return to their jobs.

"If the president and the government want to leave a legacy, they should learn how to sit down and cooperate," he said. "They are supposed to be in the business of serving the people and I wish they would do just that."

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