Subcontractor Courier Shutout From Back Pay And Unemployment Compensation

5:41 PM, Oct 14, 2013   |    comments
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DAMASCUS, Md. (WUSA9) --  Throughout the shutdown, WUSA9 has been asking our viewers to share their shutdown stories.

Dan Cosman emailed us. He is a shutout subcontractor who drives for a living.  As a courier, and subcontractor with Washington Express, he must use his own car to do his job.

"I'm not going to get any back pay, and people who are in the same line of work aren't going to get any back pay either," said Cosman, who lives in Damascus.  He has secret clearance which allows him to transport sensitive documents for people who travel for or work for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA, whose website is shutdown.  Because the federal government is shutdown, Cosman is out of work. 

"It's frustrating to know that before, if I was laid off, I did have unemployment insurance. And now, it feels like the bottom has dropped out of everything," said Cosman.

He says he's not eligible for unemployment compensation because as a subcontractor, he doesn't pay into the program.

"I'm going to have to find another job," said Cosman. 

Don Cosman's wife is still working as a school bus driver for Howard County, but without his income, they are worried.  He says they have so far been able to pay their bills and eat,  thanks to members of his church family who have helped with gifts of food and money.

"We live in a mobile home, so the mortgage is low. But, the ground rent isn't that low. But, with the help we've had coming in, I believe we'll be OK. But there are others that have a lot bigger burden than we do. And it's really sad that we've had to come to this. To shutdown the government? It's hard to believe," said Cosman.

Don Cosman has a suggestion for both Congress and the White House. He thinks they need to get to work in the morning when he does, at 6:00 a.m. That way, he says, they'll have more time in the day to work out a deal. And he thinks both sides needs to compromise.

"They both can give a little bit. I want to work, I need to work. I'm 63 years old, I should be getting ready to retire, and I can't."
Cosman says he's trying to find work as a van or bus driver for a retirement community.

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