Partial government shutdown affects man's effort to start new job

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WICHITA, Kan. Clint Smith says he's been on the road as a truck driver for roughly the last decade. He's been at it long enough and is now looking for a job that allows him to spend more time with his family. He says he's found a job that'll give him that opportunity, but there's a snag due to the partial federal government shutdown, now on its 25th day.

When Smith and his wife, Brandi, first heard about the partial government shutdown,it wasn't high on their list of concerns.

"We really didn't know," Smith says.

That changed when Smith says he had an opportunity to work as a contractor, installing cable.

"In order to be an independent contractor, just like it sounds, means I have to be an independent proprietor," Smith says. "They require an EIN (Employer Identification Number) and that's been the issues we've been having is trying to get that."

An EIN is basically a social security number for businesses. After going through the process of applying on the IRS website, Smith was directed to call an 8-00 (eight hundred) number because his request couldn't be processed online. A call to the number sent him to a message that IRS telephone services aren't available.

"Professionally, this is my job. This is what I need to support my family, my wife and three kids," Smith says. "I've got to get better income, better hours for what my job skills are."

Until he has the access he needs to get that EIN, he can't move forward with starting the new job that's better for his family.

For now, Smith says he doesn't have answers and he doesn't know where to go to get them. What he does know is that the partial government shutdown has moved up on his list of concerns.

"Now that this has arised, I'm starting to think farther in...'How is this going to affect my family, my community, the state?'" he says.

As things stand, Smith says he figures he'll have to head back out on the road as a truck driver.

Eyewitness News reached out to a professional tax preparer who says he believes Smith should still be able to get an EIN. Tuesday afternoon, an email from a small business owner also says Smith should be able to obtain the EIN without having to contact the IRS. Eyewitness News reached out to the IRS Tuesday, but was unable to reach anyone to verify that information.