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Jack Santucci: Retired Coast Guard Captain worried about missing retirement check during the government shutdown

Posted at 11:39 PM, Jan 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-23 09:00:50-05

STUART, Fla. — More than a month into the partial government shutdown, many government workers still do not know when they will get their regular paychecks again.

Now, worries are growing amongst retired Coast Guard members, who may not receive their retirement checks at the end of the month if the shutdown continues.

Already this year, more than 40,000 active Coast Guard members have missed a paycheck since they’re paid bi-weekly.

50,000 retired Coast Guard members might miss their monthly retirement check, which they are supposed to receive in about a week.

Stuart resident Jack Santucci could be one of them.

Santucci served in the Coast Guard for 24 years and retired 10 years ago as a Captain.

He has seen a lot over the years.

“My first day of work up in Cape Cod was when Jon Kennedy’s plane crashed… I did counter drugs in Opa-Locka back in the big drug smuggling days,” Santucci described.

He says what he’s now seeing happen to Coast Guard members is a first for him. He has never missed a retirement check in his decade-long retirement.

“I don’t feel confident right now at all,” Santucci said.

The Coast Guard is the only branch of the armed forces affected by the partial government shutdown because of how it is funded.

All other military is part of the Department of Defense.

The Coast Guard falls under Homeland Security.

“It’s a sad thing to stand by and watch right now,” Santucci said.

He is lucky enough to still have other work to support his family. He used his Coast Guard retirement as supplemental income and savings.

“There’s others... that don’t have that luxury,” Santucci said.

As a Coast Guard retiree, he gets regular updates about the status of his check. But, he worries about Coast Guard widows who rely on their late spouse’s retirement checks, but might not be getting the same direct and frequent communication about the possibility they will not get the check this month.

“They may not be as connected to what the happenings are, and it could be at the end of the month they don’t receive their check and don’t even realize,” Santucci said.

He is hopeful lawmakers will come to an agreement to end the shutdown soon, but wants retirees or their surviving spouses to be prepared.

“I'm not sure how much pain they can sustain and for how long.”