Posted by William Charles on January 23, 2019
Misc

Published on January 23rd, 2019 | by William Charles

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Furloughed Federal Government Workers Resource Page: Financial, Food & Other Help

Update 1/23/19: As promised this page is being kept up to date. We’ve added a number of new resources, if you see anything that is missing please let us know in the comments below.

As the government shut down continues I thought it would be useful to put together a resource page for Furloughed Federal Workers. A lot of companies are offering assistance.

Financial

Most financial institutions are offering some type of assistance for government workers. OPM has also provided some sample letters that can be sent out. More information on those found in this tweet.

Major financial institutions:

  • Bank of America. Customers can call or schedule an appointment for ‘personalized assistance’ although it’s not clear what that assistance entails.
  • Capital One. Says assistance will be provided, but not clear what this assistance actually entails.
  • Chase. Call the Chase’s hardship program. They will be waiving or refunding late fees, extending payments on car loans and leases and protecting credit histories by not reporting late payments and the like. In addition since December 24th Chase has been automatically waiving and refunding overdraft and monthly service fees on deposit accounts if an employee’s salary from an affected federal agency was direct deposited into the account in November, 2018.
  • Citibank. Monthly service and overdraft fees are being automatically refunded or waived for federal employees with their salary being deposited into a Citibank account. Cardholders will also qualify for refunds, waivers of late fees, interest charge waivers, credit linit increases as well as collection forbearance and settlement programs.
  • Discover. Discover customers are encouraged to call in to receive assistance, assistance is on a case by case basis but readers report receiving having late fees and interest fees reversed as well as having the option to skip payments until the shut down is over. No dedicated line has been set up.
  • Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU). Interest free loans of up to $6,000 are being provided. The loan amount is calculated based on the most recent direct deposit of government pay you received, so having a deposit account with your government pay deposited into that NFCU account will be necessary. No credit check is done either which is fantastic. They will also be providing additional assistance.
  • PenFed. They are offering customers the ability to skip payment for January, they are also offering a loan product with a 2% discount. Finally they are also offering a interest free loan of up to $6,000 if your payroll is deposited into your PenFed account.
  • USAA. USAA is offering a special loan product and additional assistance to those affected.
  • U.S. Bank. Offering a new low-rate quick loan product in addition to their standard assistance programs (unclear what these exactly are). When they say low rate, they mean it. The rate is 0.01% APY and loans range from $100 to $6,000, there is also a 12 month term.
  • Wells Fargo. Dedicated phone line has been set up, they are automatically reversing monthly service and overdraft fees on deposit accounts. For loans they are also reversing and waiving late fees. It looks like interest will still be charged as normal, although it is recommended you contact Wells Fargo directly as they will be assessing cases on a case by case basis.

Smaller institutions/issuers:

  • Ally. Let somebody break a 12 month CD with no fees.
  • Andrews FCU. Up to $5,000 for 6 months
  • BB&T. Case by case basis
  • NASA FCU: Up to $10,000, interest free for 60 days
  • Northwest Federal CU. 6 month 0% loan up to a month’s salary.
  • PayPal. $500 interest free cash advance from PayPal. Looks like this will still do a hard pull on your credit.
  • PNC. PNC will waive certain fees for customers that call in, it’s not clear what these fees are or if any other assistance will be provided.
  • TD Bank. Can access up to $1,000 in additional funds with no overdraft fees or cost. They are also offering late fee refunds on most TD Bank credit cards and some loan assistance programs as well.
  • WAEPA. Premiums for January has been refunded to all members, even if you’re not a government employee.

Food/Drinks

  • Macaroni Grill is offering all employees a free Mom’s Ricotta Meatballs + Spaghetti. Valid through 1/23/19 or until government shut down ends. Valid 11am – 4pm, not valid at airport or international locations. This can be used once per day.
  • #ChefsForFeds. Looks like a lot of different Chefs are offering free meals under this banner.
  • Pay It Furloughed. Users can offer to pay it forward and offer federal employees a free beer, federal employees can enjoy these free beers.
  • Capital One Cafes. Free Peet’s drip coffee when you show your government ID.
    Great Harvest Bread Co. They have created shutdown shelves, offering free bread to federal employees.
  • Ruby Slipper Cafe. Free beverage and entree for you and your immediate family.
  • Food Banks. Many people are making additional donations to food banks to help government employees during this difficult time. Please do not feel bad about using these resources as again people are making specific donations because of this. In addition if you feel it necessary you can always make your own donations once the government shut down ends.
  • Free food opportunities. We maintain a general list of companies offering free food to everybody here.

Location specific:

Entertainment

  • Harlem Globetrotters. Two free tickets to 2019 Fan Powered North American tour. To get the tickets you need to show your valid government ID at your local box office.
  • Select Museums. Free admission during the shut down.

Location specific:

Misc

  • Daily Burn. 100 days of free workouts, after that period get 50% off the next 12 months.
  • GEICO. No premiums until government restarts, pay back once backpay goes through.
  • Notarize. Free notarization is you sign up using a .gov e-mail address.
  • Rosetta Stone. Three month online subscription.
  • Tanger Outlets. Free $20 gift card.

Final Thoughts

As interested as I am in moderating a political discussion in the comments the aim of this post is to help those who need it. Please keep the comments to adding additional information that might be helpful (e.g more resource links) and not your personal political beliefs. For furloughed employees it would be greatly useful if you’re able to provide actual experience with using any of the assistance mention on this page, often there can be a discrepancy between what is promised and what is delivered. For those not affected please pass this onto any affected friends/family you know of or spread the word by retweeting this on Twitter.



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AcroMatt
AcroMatt

Also check your local news station as they might have a list on their website along with a local area subreddit (if there is one).

Here is a list of things for the Triangle area in NC:
https://abc11.com/business/local-businesses-offer-freebies-for-furloughed-employees/5093943/

Stable Genius
Stable Genius

You may also want to contact your GSA TravelPay servicer (J.P. Morgan, Citi) by mail to request late fee waivers if your expenses like lodging and meals are yet to be paid. The travel regs say that agencies must pay late fees due to nonpayment but it might be better to get ahead of the ball.

Security
Security

Good luck getting Omega to handle anything after the shutdown ends.. gosh those people are hard to work with.

Ivan X

This is a great post. Thanks.

JuicyJosh
JuicyJosh

I can already imagine Citi’s interpretation of their terns, “with their salary being deposited into a Citibank account.”

“I am sorry (furloughed employee) but you did not receive a salary deposit and as such we did not attach this fee waiver to your account.”

blah blah
blah blah

my salary is paid from the NSF grant through my university, and Citi said those qualifies for a monthly fee waiver.

JV
JV

Great Post. And it is a reminder for all of us to keep our rainy day fund plush especially when working for a government agency. While they will all get backpay for the shutdown, who knows when it will end.

Zachary
Zachary

Some who work for the government on a contract basis might not get backpay, unfortunately.

GB
GB

Yes there are lot of federal contractors who will not get any backpay.

Betelgeuse
Betelgeuse

I think if they are not working (furloghed) during the shutdown they won’t get any backpay.

Jack
Jack

If you’re a federal employee, essential or not, they’ll get back pay. There are about 800,000 of them. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been called in to work. However, the 4 million federal contractors will not get back pay.

Betelgeuse
Betelgeuse

That’s good they can get backpay even not working.

Dylan
Dylan

I do find it suprising people cant go even a month without being paid, which tells us many people are spending quite close to their paychecks.

Im a college student and I have enough cash stashed away to cover 3 months of living expenses by myself, 6 if I raid my roth IRA. Now of course my college is funded by my parents (thanks mom and dad), but I only get paid back for the classes I pass. I also still have to pay room and board myself.

I hope in the future more federal employees save money, especially for things like these.

Finally, Its also good to see the private sector pitching in because our government can’t seem to cooperate.

Celia
Celia

Some of these employees have to still work so they have all the expenses of commuting, including gas, meals, etc. for example, the federal prisons are usually in rural areas and some personnel have to drive 40-50 miles to get to work. Gas is cheaper now but that adds up quickly. Plus those essential employees like prison guards, don’t make a lot.

PJ
PJ

You should realize how lucky you are. It sounds like you don’t have kids, have fairly minimal expenses and get thousands of dollars per year from your parents. Unfortunately, it’s tough to save 3-6 months when you have kids, paying student loans, rent/mortgage, etc. most people live paycheck to paycheck. Your perception isn’t their reality. Please don’t take your position for granted.

Solewalker
Solewalker

Way to sound high and mighty. Not everyone has the privilege of their parents paying for their college, and end up in a vicious cycle of credit. Instead of tooting your own horn, and judging fed workers for their financial habits, maybe examine how much of an advantage your background gave you, and give back.

Jack - NJ
Jack - NJ

I don’t think he is judging. It is a good point he is raising: Americans tend to spend their money, not put away into savings. Think about the 78% of Americans who live paycheck to paycheck. How many of those people make discretionary purchases of expensive items, such as new iPhones, instead of putting away for a rainy day fund, i.e. their fridge breaks? I (and Dylan, I think) am/are not saying people can’t make these purchases, just do it with savings in mind.

And PJ, I have a wife and kid and have a similar financial situation as Dylan. Sure, I have expenses, but I make sure to have a job that will pay for my lifestyle. Living is expensive, and most jobs won’t foot the bills for a family. But most importantly, regardless of the job and pay, it is important to live below one’s salary and to not buy on credit (use a cc, just pay the bills on time). That way people can at least put some money away for savings.

Overall, I feel really bad for the federal workers who are working without pay, and even worse for those out of work completely during the shutdown. It’s nice to see the country come together to help people out in their time of need, even despite all the political divisiveness. Thanks Doc for this resource!

On a slightly separate note, considering the low level of unemployment lately and the surge of job openings, it may be best for federal employees that are completely out of work to apply for jobs in the public sector. They tend to be better paying and provide consistent pay, not subject to the whims of the politicians.

Deborah
Deborah

Federal jobs ARE public sector jobs.

Sarah
Sarah

Here is a free lesson, college kid: don’t talk about how easy something should be to do until you’ve done it yourself.

“Now of course my college is funded by my parents (thanks mom and dad), but I only get paid back for the classes I pass.”

I’m glad your parents can afford to take care of you. That is an opportunity for you to cultivate humility and gratitude for your blessings, which so many people do not have.

anthonyjh21
anthonyjh21

Counter point: I’m 35, have two kids (one of which with severe allergies), wife and I both college graduates. I was statistically 96% likely to never graduate from a 4 year college. High school with the lowest graduation rate in the state. I grew up in a shit hole. Wife has a masters that we self-funded and I paid 100% of my way through college. I’ve not had a penny of support from family since I was probably 16. What I was given was a dose of ignorance to the world around me and how it all works. We currently have a combined $6k in student loans, all at 3.25% fixed. Have a years worth of emergency funds (9 months if you factor in Cobra insurance) and are able to fill all retirement buckets. We avoided lifestyle creep and do not compare ourselves to others to define success. I’m not telling you this to brag. Seriously, there was nothing fun about my path or our combined path with paying for her schooling, lost wages from half a year of bed rest with pregnancy complications and all of the various crap one deals with when you aren’t born with a golden spoon. I’ve had my share of nights in college digging for change to buy a 99 cent burger. That was if I was lucky. Other days I’d simply wait until I could earn minimum wage from the college board pulling weeds to go buy .25c frozen burritos and live off them. I’ve had over $13,000 in consumer debt before even graduating. My wife would stay up late and apply for every scholarship she could find. I have and continue to work side hustles to bring in more income. I was born in a trench with dirty fingernails and a shovel and told to dig my way out. Bottom line, we’ve grown a thick skin as a result and prepare for every possiblity. That said, there’s always people out there who need help. Many who by no fault of their own ended up in their situation. We should never belittle or condemn people who are trying to better themselves. On the same note, they do need a helping hand. We need more school funding and to teach personal finance. The root of my problem with many Americans is one of entitlement and lack of agency, specifically when it comes to money.… Read more »

Dylan
Dylan

They pay my education, I pay everything else.

I have to pay for my own food, my rent. I have to buy my own books, pay my own utilities. I pay for my own car, my health and car insurance, and my cell phone bill. My clothes, gas and repairs for my vehicle, and any entertainment. You seemed to have missed that part.

I have just as many living expenses as any other adult. The only thing covered by my parents is my classes, and only the classes I pass. If I fail a class, its on me.

Point is im already paying my way and living like an adult with all the expenses associated. I have just as many expenses as a federal worker.

I also run a business selling computers, and that is where I derive my income, plus the demand of school. I started this business summer of 2017 by accident, and its something anyone can do.

I keep my living expenses very low, have no kids and live with roomates. There are crafty ways anyone can employ to reduce their expenses like driving an old car, living in a cheap location, cooking meals every day, and negotiating on every bill you have. I do these things religiously, and my expenses are very low.

I hustle, and typically work 12 hour days between my business and school. I rarely have free time except very late at night.

Heres my point. What’s stopping a federal employee from getting out there and having a side hustle? If you have kids, I understand. But if you dont, whats your excuse?

Am I privelaged? Of course. But if my parents cut me off tomorrow, I have enough money to get by 3-6 months, not including my business.

Do I still feel sorry for federal workers? Of course. I just find it slightly appalling people cant save money at all, or get a side hustle to make more money if you are running close to the edge.

Stryker
Stryker

When you join the real world, kid and face the difficulties that others encounter, then we can learn something from you.
You have no dependents, no liabilities, college books and boarding is pretty cheap, no major health issues and no fixed monthly expenses like a mortgage. It’s an easy life for you.

Based on your judging others while ignoring their situation, you still have a lot more to learn. Not everybody can hustle on the side doing Uber or Lyft or working part time. Just doesn’t work in the real world unless you have a lot of time. Kids, activities, doctor appointments, commute – all these eat into the free time.

Bill
Bill

I’m sure they really appreciate hearing feedback from some college student who doesn’t have all the financial obligations they have. Many probably didn’t even have the opportunity to go to college because they couldn’t afford it let alone parents paying for it. Many probably have children and not to mention the fact that they still have to pay to commute back and forth to work along with all their other real life bills. Not everyone can be a college student. I went to college. Its a frickin joke compared to real life. Oh and I paid for room and board myself and worked, so you are not special in that sense. Try working a low paying job with a family to support and no safety net. Your paycheck would go pretty quickly as well.

Pam
Pam

You sound like a privileged child to me. Welcome to the real world.

Pahanin
Pahanin

Government workers are public servants that makes this country operational. Many government work are not high paying jobs. With exception to most politicians, most of them aren’t working those jobs to become wealthy. This also impacts private contractors performing government work. Worst case scenario is this results in the government hiring foreign labor due to skilled government workers moving on to the private sector.

Zachary
Zachary

PenFed and USAA have some assistance offers listed on their landing pages.

Stan
Stan

of course if any of the rest of us have an income interruption, aka fired or laid off, the financial industry will say, “screw you, pay me or else”.
but i do feel bad for all federal employees who will eventually get all their back pay. keep your head up. take advantage of these opportunities. and when you get your money, pay your bills.
this is a good effort, DoC.

PJ
PJ

Or they would file for unemployment…

Betelgeuse
Betelgeuse

Can’t get unemployment if fired.

Information Booth
Information Booth

Untrue… employer has to have valid reason for the termination. My brother-in-law was recently fired for being sick and he got unemployment due to wrongful termination. Could vary by State… this happened in MI. John 3:16

Mick
Mick

We’ve missed one paycheck. And we are guaranteed to be paid when this is over. Those of my colleagues struggling for missing a paycheck or two, I hope this is a lesson for you to save for unexpected events in the future (we know there will be more).

Also to my colleagues. Be aware of the ethics rules we get reminded of frequently. Know how much ‘value’ you are allowed to accept per year from outside sources. Understand any conflicts of interest with your job and the free services you are offered. Remember that any benefits being offered must be offered to ALL federal employees in order for you to be in line with ethics regulations and not just a segment of them (i.e. furloughed employees only, federal law enforcement officers only, Coast Guardsmen only, etc.).

To those donating, remember we are getting paid when this is over so anything you give us is ‘profit’. Thank you for your generosity and willingness to help, but again, we are getting paid when this is over and remember there are many others out there that do not have jobs that will not get paid that need our help more. Support your homeless and out of work veterans who have no guaranteed income.

Sometimes I feel these banks and restaurants are doing this service for furloughed employees for political reasons. I wish they would do this all of the time for our unemployed veterans…

Celia
Celia

Well said. Personally, I have been loading up donations for the local food pantries. With the SNAP benefits in jeopardy, the food banks will be overtaxed, more than usual, when that happens.

Jack
Jack

If you live near one, Jewel-Osco has signature canned goods on sale 3 for .99. Pretty decent quality. Great for donations.

Jack - NJ
Jack - NJ

Food banks tend to get food for cheaper than you can buy them, so it might be more worthwhile to make a financial donation rather than to donate the food. Just a heads up for how to make the biggest bang with your buck.

Information Booth
Information Booth

I was told that Feb 2019 SNAP benefits are being paid at the end of January 2019. It is possible that there will be no funds beginning in March. If that’s true… I’ll buy a Shipt membership for my sister so I can have food delivered to her house. It’s a way to get food to someone who doesn’t live close to you… John 3:16

Matt
Matt

I won’t reply to any specific person because I don’t want to start a fight, but my jaw dropped at some of these comments admonishing people living paycheck to paycheck. Not everyone who works for the goverment has a high salary, lives in an area with great housing options, has a small household, is older and has been working for a few years, etc. Yeah, maybe if you’re on this site you should know better, but most people who work low wage jobs for the gov’t are not. Get your heads out of your ass and have a little sympathy.

I am very fortunate to be single, have worked for a few years, that I have a decent amount saved up. Coworkers I know who literally just started their first job and barely had time to save money, I feel and am scared for them. I know it took me a good half a year to begin living without paycheck to paycheck after graduating, and if this happened then I’d be pretty scared. Thank you Doc for hopefully helping some people out who need some extra help or maybe stumble upon this site looking for some aid.

anthonyjh21
anthonyjh21

I can’t speak for everyone but I did comment above, which you can read it you want.

My position is that these people are being treated unfairly. Many do have extenuating circumstances that would cause them to be paycheck to paycheck. As the same time there are many who put themselves in a preventable situation. Both of these truths can and should be held equal without diminishing the other.

I can only hope that for those who could’ve avoided this that it serves as a wake-up call that nothing in life is guaranteed nor is it fair. You have to be your own advocate and do your absolute best to prepare for anything that would negatively impact your life financially.

Emily
Emily

Does anyone know if the banks are willing to help government contractors who aren’t getting paid? We can use paid leave until we run out but we won’t get back pay. No one on the phones at the banks seems to have any idea what I’m talking about when I ask about shutdown help. Surprising I know.

Celia
Celia

American Express has a notice on their home page about assistance. Also, Chase: Chase encourages its customers to call to discuss certain hardship programs if they are employees of, or do business with, a U.S. federal agency and their income is affected by the shutdown. They should call the special care line at 1-888-356-0023.

Jae
Jae

Chase was supposedly offering help to govt contractors.

PJ
PJ

&pizza in DC was giving govt employees free pizza from 6-8. I don’t think they expected the shutdown to go on this long, so I wouldn’t be surprised or blame them if they stopped all of a sudden.

Norm
Norm

I took packaged unopened groceries to an airport TSA checkpoint. A WN employee (friend) had already advised me to ask for a supervisor. It took about a half hour to get approval, and they took a photo of my ID which did not concern me. Eventually all the bags of food were accepted, with thanks extended from both the workers as well as outbound travelers who were about to be screened. Had to do something, it’s now at the month mark with no end in sight.

PJM
PJM

World Central Kitchen has opened a kitchen and cafe to serve federal employees in need and their families. Chefs For Feds Café at 701 Pennsylvania Ave NW DC from 11 until 6. everyday. https://www.worldcentralkitchen.org/chefsforfeds

Jae
Jae

Some of the hubris on these comments is so condescending, the assumption that the financial hurt that some of the employees are experiencing is somehow self-inflicted shows how far common decency has fallen. When I was affected, I was a VERY lowly paid GS5, single parent, NOT receiving any outside financial support, and attending college. There are MILLIONS of people who are about 2 paychecks away from being homeless and these people are NOT shifty or lazy–they DO work but many are lowly paid. I will assert that this is a wake call for EVERYONE, NOTHING is guaranteed but your death and having to pay those taxes. But don’t crap on your fellow man when they are down through no fault of their own. Some people are 2 paychecks away because they are busting their rear on a single income, maybe as a single parent raising a family. Or someone in the family has a serious medical illness. Hell, MANY folks I know are still trying to recover from the financial issues they had from the flooding and hurricanes in the last 1-2 years the U.S. has experienced. Still fighting with insurance companies and FEMA…you never know when it will be your turn, tread lightly folks on the judgment. It only takes one catastrophe to wipe it all out.

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