There are a number of emergency financial assistance programs available for furloughed workers, free items, short term jobs, and other resources for the roughly 800,000 federal government workers who are not getting paid. Below you will find different categories of assistance, whether for housing or rental needs, food, utilities, car payments, credit cards or financial resources for paying other bills. Both the government and charities/non-profits may offer support.
We also have listed some ideas on how a furloughed worker can make a few dollars while they are waiting for the federal government to get its act together and start paying them. As many government worked may want to start to look for a new job or new source of income to offset the missed paychecks.
It is estimated that 420,000 government workers still need to go to their job each and every day, yet they will not get paid. Another 380,000 federal employees will not need to go to work each day, but of course they will not get paid either. Now the government will “backpay” them, but people still need to pay their rent or mortgage, buy food, credit cards and take care of other bills. The assistance programs that may be able to help them are as follows.
There are a number of resources for help with housing costs, whether rent, mortgages, utility or heating bills, and the like. A combination of charities and state resources may assist, some of which offer emergency assistance. The options include the following. In addition, find very local assistance programs by state.
- Rental assistance.
- Mortgage payment help.
- Utility bill assistance, including payment plans for customers facing a hardship such as a furloughed worker.
- LIHEAP crisis grants for furloughed workers facing imminent disconnection.
- Water bill assistance.
There are also many other resources that can help pay bills while the government employee is waiting on their paycheck. Organizations ranging from churches to community action agencies may offer financial aid for bills, free stuff, transportation, or even just “emotional” support.
Loan programs for government workers
Yes, these should always be a last resort. The only reason to maybe consider them is hopefully the furlough will be short lived and paychecks will resume in short order. As as loan may help a government employee pay their living expenses, rent, mortgages and more. Then if paychecks resume in short order, maybe the interest on the loan will not even have kicked in yet.
- Interest free loans may be available since this is an extreme event.
- Low cost loans, including those for employees with poor or limited credit can also be an option.
Free food, clothing, medications and basic needs for furloughed government workers
Most of this assistance is from charities or local churches. There may also be volunteer groups that ensure furloughed workers have food, groceries, clothes, and more for their family. Many government workers are also struggling to pay for medical and health care costs, and resources can address that need too. Much of this support is free of charge.
- Food pantries may not only have free groceries, but also hygiene type supplies.
- Clothing banks.
- Free winter boots, hats, gloves, and attire.
- Free prescription drug medications
When going through a short term financial hardship, such as a furlough or missed paychecks, never hesitate to ask for help from a food pantry or other charity. Their services are confidential.
Income and short term employment opportunities
Not only may it be possible to give some support from the community using the resources above, but many people also want to work and be productive. Especially if they are among the 380,000 employees who have been sent home, they may have some time they want to be productive in. Here are some short term job opportunities which will help a federal government furloughed employee make a few extra dollars. Not these positions will not even come close to making up lost wages from the furlough, they can help people make a few extra dollars.
- Freelance type opportunities exist, and there are many positions out there and companies seeking short term help.
- Side gigs can help someone make a few extra dollars.
- Hobbies. Learn how to make a few dollars turning a hobby into income.
- Find other ideas for making a few extra dollars, ranging from cash rebate sites to product testing.
Transportation programs for furloughed workers
It can be a challenge to make a car payment when not getting paid. Or it can be difficult to get access to some form of transportation for every day activities, including shopping, a doctor appointment, and more. Transportation programs are rare, but here are a few options.
Credit card payments
Furloughed government workers are often turning to their credit cards or (even worse) payday loans in order to pay the bills. However the bills will come due, and since paychecks are not flowing it will be challenging to pay them off. There are a number of assistance programs to help with credit cards and other types of debt.
- Programs from credit card companies.
- Debt assistance, including for credit cards, payday loans, and other costs.
Save money during the furlough
While it should not have to be the case, government workers should start to look into cutting back every way possible. There are many ways to save on food, critical shopping, medical care, and more. These suggestions will help stretch the savings of furloughed workers until they get paid again.
There are a bunch of general money saving tips as well, that range from budgeting to home repairs, free apps for saving money and more. These may benefit a furloughed worker.
Unfortunately the federal government continues to put employees through immense financial pressure. Furloughs, small annual pay increases and other challenges are causing more workers to fall behind and need help. The list above, and the resources on the site, may be able to assist.