Several credit unions serving workers at federal departments and agencies have been offering stopgap loans, as they have during previous shutdowns. But it’s not clear how those loans would even be sufficient as the shutdown enters its second month.

“I know they are, and I don’t really quite understand why,” Ross said when asked on CNBC about workers getting food from places like shelters. “Because, as I mentioned before, the obligations that they would undertake, say borrowing from a bank or a credit union are in effect federally guaranteed.”

But in addition to the federal employees who are set to miss another paycheck at the end of this week, there are many federal contractors who have no expectation of ever getting the missed payments back.