Posted on Tuesday, 15th January 2019 by

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This shutdown is the longest in history and if the parties can’t agree on funding border security this shutdown could go on for some time. The Washington Examiner reported, “Some 30 Democratic lawmakers left the government shutdown behind Friday on a chartered flight to Puerto Rico for a winter retreat with 109 lobbyists and corporate executives during which they planned to see the hit Broadway show “Hamilton” and attend three parties including one with the show’s cast.”

Making Ends Meet

Our representatives should stay in Washington until government is funded. We the people should insist that anytime Congress refuses to come to the table and forces a shutdown, our representatives must not be paid for the duration. They should also NOT receive back pay like all other feds will receive, make them pay for their inaction and inability to do their job.

Fortunately, there are ways for furloughed employees that don’t have sufficient resources and savings to bridge the gap until their back pay is restored.  

Credit unions and other financial organizations are coming together to help furloughed federal workers make it through the government shutdown. The Allegent Federal Credit Union in Pittsburgh is offering low-cost short-term loans plus they initiated a NO COST “Skip A Pay” service for all federal employees affected by the shutdown. Furloughed employees should contact their local credit union for similar low and no cost assistance.

Here is a short list of things furloughed employees can do if they are having a difficult time financially during the shutdown:

  • Furloughed employees may be able to file for unemployment compensation, those who are not working. However, be aware that once your backpay is restored you must pay back the unemployment compensation that you received.
  • The Credit Union National Association announced that credit unions across the U.S. are providing assistance to the affected employees. Some of the programs included:
    • Zero percent APR interest signature relief loan for 12 months signature relief loan
    • Pay Disruption Assistance Program with mortgage loan forbearances, loan and credit card payment deferments, and short-term low rate loans
    • Online member portals with special furlough loans
    • Preexisting loan deferred payment opportunities for up to 60 days
    • Cash advances of up to 90% of federal employee’s regular monthly pay. Contact your local utilities and ask them what programs they have for situations like this. I called several utilities in my area and they have a budget option plus offer other ways to assist such as their Customer Assistance Program (CAP).
  • If you aren’t able to make your mortgage or car payment contact the lender immediately to let them know before the payment is due. They may have programs available that will help you avoid a late payment or they could offer a short-term loan to help.
  • The National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) partnered with the Federal Employee Education & Assistance Fund to offer $100 grants to active federal employee NARFE members who are not receiving a paycheck during the current shutdown as a result of being furloughed or working in excepted status. Members can APPLY online.  You will need to provide documentation of your furlough or excepted status. FEEA will contact you with any questions, and will let you know if your request is approved or denied. You must be a NARFE member in good standing and your membership status will be confirmed with NARFE. For questions, please contact me at execdir@narfe.org
  • Articles concerning assistance for furloughed federal employees.

I suggest calling your representatives and let them know it’s time to get back to the table and pass a budget. They need to do what’s good for the country and do their jobs. This has gone on far too long. 

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Disclaimer: Opinions expressed herein by the author are not an investment or benefit recommendation and are not meant to be relied upon in investment or benefit decisions. The author is not acting in an investment, tax, legal, benefit, or any other advisory capacity. This is not an investment or benefit research report. The author’s opinions expressed herein address only select aspects of various federal benefits and potential investment in securities of the TSP and companies mentioned and cannot be a substitute for comprehensive investment analysis. Any analysis presented herein is illustrative in nature, limited in scope, based on an incomplete set of information, and has limitations to its accuracy. The author recommends that retirees, potential and existing investors conduct thorough investment and benefit research of their own, including detailed review of OPM guidance for benefit issues and for investments the companies’ SEC filings, and consult a qualified investment adviser. The information upon which this material is based was obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but has not been independently verified. Therefore, the author cannot guarantee its accuracy. Any opinions or estimates constitute the author’s best judgment as of the date of publication, and are subject to change without notice. The author explicitly disclaims any liability that may arise from the use of this material.

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