With the longest government shutdown in history continuing, we wanted to share some information to provide relief options for those who may be impacted. Please share this with any friends or family who may need it.
Friday, January 11th was the first paycheck most federal workers missed, which makes January 25th the second paycheck. Eighty percent of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck so missing two paychecks is most likely impacting many, and with potentially adverse consequences.
To help anyone you know who may be affected, here’s a list of resources along with links for additional information.
Chase Bank, Wells Fargo or your local bank or credit union
Banks and credit unions across the nation are providing various forms of assistance, such as zero interest loans to furloughed workers. For instance, Chase is refunding all overdraft and service fees, providing 90-day relief on mortgages and removing minimum payments on credit cards. This could be a huge help to many! For more information, please contact Chase Bank, and ask for their Special Care line (888) 356-0023.
Other community banks such as Wells Fargo, Colorado’s Alpine Bank, Launch Federal Credit Union and many others are trying to do their part as well. Check out this CNBC personal finance article for details. Be sure to check with your local bank or visit their website for possible assistance as well.
Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund
This independent program has been providing emergency hardship loans since 1986 and it’s mobilizing to help those affected by the shutdown. Click here for more info.
United for U.S. Coalition
The United Way has set up this fund, along with help from labor unions and corporate partners, to help federal employees, federal contractors, and others affected by the shutdown. It provides emergency assistance with food, rent, and other basic needs. Click here for more info.
“As long as the shutdown is in effect, our customer service team will waive late fees, provide extensions and coordinate with you on revised payment schedules.” – AT&T said in a statement on their website.
- Check with your cell phone carrier for similar assistance.
- Sprint: Click here for their statement.
- Verizon provides their program here.
- T-Mobile recommends calling their Customer Care line to discuss options 877-746-0909.
National Diaper Bank
This organization has over 200 local diaper banks and has seen a sharp increase in need since the shutdown. Please consider donating if able and make sure anyone being impacted is aware of this resource. Click here for more info.
For those looking to directly help TSA agents, please keep in mind they cannot accept anything while on duty at the airport. They rely on the above organizations as well so consider supporting them instead.
A friendly reminder: I recently had to travel to Chicago for a funeral. TSA agents were working just as hard as ever to accommodate the needs of travelers. If you’re traveling right now, please be extra courteous and say Thank You as these employees are working without pay to keep you safe.
Advice from your financial coaches:
- Be proactive – call your vendors and providers to stay in communication about your situation. It can be nerve racking if you are unable to pay your bills. You may even feel ashamed. Most people when faced with shame go into avoidance and isolation mode and that’s the last thing you want to do right now. Know that you’re not alone in this situation.
2. Stay positive and remember, this too shall pass. Once your paychecks start coming back in, you’ll want to be ready to get back on track. Be proactive and make an action list, including vendors, amounts due and due dates so you can get them taken care of right away.
3. Be conservative and don’t over promise – Give yourself time to pay things back while giving yourself some breathing room. Don’t over promise what you can pay right now and then feel crummy later if you can’t quite deliver. We want to give ourselves as much flexibility as possible once the paychecks start coming back. Take advantage of as many resources as are available to you.
4. Learn from this. The best thing we can do when something like this happens is to ask ourselves, “How can I prevent this from happening to me again?” Let’s be honest, you & I can’t possibly prevent a government shutdown, but how can we be ready so if it happens again (or something similar, but let’s hope not!), we can feel proud and confident that we were totally prepared? In other words, can this unfortunate situation turn into a really great motivator to get your financial house in order?
5. Ask for help – I know this can be really challenging for many. When clients first come in to see me, they often say, “I wish I would have asked for help sooner.” Sometimes the situation is so bad we feel ashamed that all you want to do was isolate. Which is the worst thing you can do when you’re in dire straits. No matter how bad things are, or how embarrassing, t’s okay to ask for help, especially when it comes to financial guidance.
If you take away nothing else from this article, please really get that there are organizations, programs, professionals, churches, funds and assistance available to help you. I hope you will take advantage of them.
You deserve to receive help during this stressful time.
All the best, Patti Fagan
(Resources compiled by Financial Coaches Unite)