A single mom, Falkenberg works as an administrative assistant for the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterrey, Calif. She's expecting an official furlough notice any day.
"It's kind of frightening to me," said Falkenberg who has a 17-year-old son and a 14-year-old daughter. "Twenty percent -- that's quite a chunk. Am I going to have to ask for a 20% reduction in rent?"
Falkenberg said the furlough would cut about $500 a month from her paycheck, which would affect her family in big and small ways. For instance, if her daughter forgets her lunch at home, Falkenberg explained she probably wouldn't be able to afford the extra gasoline for her Chevrolet Tahoe to drop it off.
She's also worried about having to dip into retirement and savings accounts to make ends meet. "It will mean doing a lot of little things to pinch pennies any way we can," Falkenberg said.