Shutdown: Brace for an onslaught of PFSD claims?

PFST  Post Furlough Stress Disorder

Man, you can see this one coming from a mile away…

When the shutdown ends, I expect a flurry of TV lawyer ads soliciting furloughed government employees who suffer from PFSD.


Further, I expect the basis PFSD claims to stem on a couple of alleged stressors…


PFSD Stressors

1) Financial stress: Indeed, delayed paychecks can cause bill-paying stress … especially if if furloughees are part of the 80% of Americans who don’t have any money stashed in a rainy day account.

These stresses are understandable, but keep in mind: the furloghees don’t have part-time jobs flipping burgers … they are well paid, full-time employees with government benefits.  The should be able to save some money when they’re not furloughed … and should anticipate the periodic government shutdowns.

My sympathies do lie with the “essential employees” who are being asked to work during the shutdown … but, keep in mind that their pay is being delayed, not “lost”.  In a few weeks, they’ll be made whole.


2) The burden of boredom: I guess boredom can drive some people whacky, but ….

Keep in mind that — except for the “essential employees” who have to work during the shutdown, the “non-essential” furloughees are getting a paid vacation … albeit, with the pay being delayed for a few weeks.

We know some furloughees who have already hopped planes to take snow-dodging Florida vacations.

Can’t blame them for making lemonade out of the lemons … turning a liability into an asset.

For those furloughed employees who can’t think of ways to spend their off-time, I remind them of the old adage:



3) Loss of self-esteem: I always shake my head when it snows in DC and “non-essential” government employees are told to stay home – not to report to work.

My reaction is two-fold:

(1) Why do non-essential employees ever have to report to work?

(2) How does it feel to be classified as “non-essential”?

I always thought that essential work was foundational to self-worth and self-esteem.

But, one of my sons once half-jokingly advised me that many employees consider non-essential status as a good thing: less stress and more time off (e.g. no weekend work, snow days off)

My bet: the furloughees will play both sides of this coin: while they cherish the benefits of their non-essential status, they’ll claim a loss of self-esteem caused by their public shaming as “non-essential”


Safe bet: When the shutdown is over, ambulance chasing lawyers and mop-up shrinks will prosper.

We’ll see what happens.

Follow on Twitter @KenHoma

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2 Responses to “Shutdown: Brace for an onslaught of PFSD claims?”

  1. Deepak Gupta Says:

    Prof Homa, I am not going to argue whether Furloghed Employees are essential or non- essential and all of us know they will get deffer-ed pay, but I sympathize, will millions who have basic necessities and day to day expenses which they have to worry about. I can tell you I have saved enough to cover easily 2+ years of expenses maintaining my current standard of living, if for some reason I unable to get a paycheck, but with cash flow of salary not coming in I can see the pain of dipping into savings. Also, imagine the amount of lost consumption and economic effect this will have. for example: A furloughed worker who was buying a coffee at starbucks everyday or was eating lunch out everyday, is curtailing on those discretionary spends, it has impact on economy. This lost consumption is not going to come back as person when gets his deferred pay not going to buy extra coffee’s or lunches.

  2. Deepak Gupta Says:

    And lets not forget, if Trump is so much insistent on funding for wall he should have done it last year, when he had majority in house and senate.

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