State troopers suing North Carolina for millions of dollars in back pay say the state's broken promises have forced them into tough spots: working second jobs, moving in with parents, even going on food stamps.

About 800 troopers — equivalent to half the force — have joined a class-action lawsuit arguing that the state promised a schedule of regular pay increases when they were hired, but reneged because of budget problems. Many took pay cuts when they were recruited from other agencies, expecting to catch up quickly because of raises traditionally given about once a year, ABC News reports.

"I don't think people understand the hard times we're going through," said Master Trooper Rick Quinones, who lives with his wife and two young daughters in a spare bedroom at his parents' house.

His wife and children are covered by Medicaid, he said, and they use WIC government food assistance.

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