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Woman applies for food stamps, Medicaid as shutdown becomes dire situation

Posted at 3:24 PM, Jan 10, 2019

Donna Kelly woke up at 5 a.m. today so she could be one of first in line to get help at a government office in Washington, D.C.

“My main concern is medicine and being able to eat,” says Kelly.

For now, the government shutdown has left Kelly without a job at the age of 63, which means she’ll receive no paycheck until after the shutdown is over.

This morning, she applied for food stamps and Medicaid, so she can have health coverage.

“Without my medication, I mean hypertension is nothing to play with,” she says. “To me, that's like a life or death situation to me.”

For the past four years, Kelly has worked as a security guard at the Smithsonian museums in D.C., which are now closed because of the shutdown.

“I can't even work to support myself. I live alone. There's no one that can take up the slack if I'm not working,” she says. “So yes, it's very depressing, and I find myself not being able to sleep at night.”

Unions representing workers like Kelly and others held a rally in D.C. Thursday to call for an end to the shutdown that's impacting more than 800,000 federal workers and their families.

If the government does not reopen by Saturday, this will become the longest shutdown in U.S. history.