A Few Helping Hands For Furloughed Employees
Compiled By The Prince George’s Suite Editorial Board
This is the first in an ongoing series that will be provided by Prince George’s Suite Magazine and Media as this development continues to evolve. Watch this space and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for quick updates. LAST UPDATED: 01-24-19
Over 800,000 federal workers are affected by the most recent government shutdown and well over 360,000 live in the national capital region. To lessen their burden, local businesses, organizations and even banks have come up with ideas to help cash-strapped federal workers, many of whom live paycheck-to-paycheck.
Businesses and organizations around the DMV are offering freebies and special deals to furloughed and otherwise affected federal employees during the partial government shutdown. With their government work ID badges in hand, furloughed and (working without pay) essential government employees are being offered free coffee and food, discounted meals and show tickets, half-priced cocktails, and free admission at museums. Some financial institutions are stepping up to help as well. Participating establishments are listed below:
Many financial institutions are helping to ease the burden for their clients who have been negatively affected by the partial federal government shutdown. See details below. If your financial institution isn’t listed, please contact them directly and ask about their assistance programs for furloughed or otherwise affected federal employees.
Bank of America, Citi, SunTrust – offer varying degrees of assistance for affected clients through their financial hardship programs, some are on a case-by-case basis, and customers are being asked to contact their bank to learn of the programs.
Chase – Their hardship programs allow customers who no longer receive a government check directly deposited into their bank account to automatically waive or refund overdraft and monthly service fees until the shutdown ends. Moreover, according to The Financial Times, Chase will help government workers who could miss a payment on a car, credit card or mortgage payment
Congressional Federal Credit Union – offers furlough solutions ranging from a relief line of credit with an initial rate of 0 percent for 60 days and then 4 percent interest on the remaining balance, to line-of-credit limit increases to payment deferments and more. They are also referring customers with specific concerns to their in-house financial counseling services.
Democracy Federal Credit Union – offering a short-term emergency loan with 0% interest, lending director Antoine McStay said to CNN. They are offering contractors other options, such as delaying their payments on existing loans.
Discover Credit - offering assistance to clients who are federal government employees affected by the shutdown via skipped payments, down, they request these clients to contact them at 1-800-DISCOVER.
FedChoice - This federal credit union is offering some solutions: waived withdrawal penalties, furlough loans, ‘Skip-A-Pay’ on your existing loan, and more. Not a member but need assistance as a furloughed worker? Become a member and FedChoice will even cover your initial $5 deposit.
LendingClub - The LendingClub generally offers clients who are having a financial hardship a grace delay and/or a 3 month hardship plan, but they may also offer waived fees and report to the credit bureaus that timeliness of payment may have been impacted by the shutdown for federal employees affected by the shutdown. Like other financial institutions, what they offer will be on a individual basis. Customers can get more information by calling LendingClub at 888-596-3157.
Marcus by Goldman Sachs - In an email from Marcus by Goldman Sachs to Bankrate, they state affected government employees might be eligible for a payment deferral on their loans by one month and no interest will be charged during that time. To learn more, customers should call 1-844-MARCUS6 (1-844-627-2876).
Navy Federal Credit Union – Federal government employees whose salaries are deposited into their account with this credit union are being offered 0% APR loans up to $6,000, depending on eligibility. The loan does not require a credit check and has no fees or interest. The amount credited to the account will be automatically deducted once government reopens and pay resumes.
PayPal - Offering an interest-free one-time cash advance, up to your available credit line for a maximum of $500 (with a minimum amount of $250) to existing or new PayPal Credit customers who are U.S. federal government employees impacted by the shutdown. Learn more.
SoFi - offers assistance to federal government employees who are not receiving a paycheck during the shutdown on a month-to-month basis via support options: payment deferral, waived late fees, no negative credit reporting. This assistance is not being offered to contractors at this time. To learn more, customers should call 1-844-MARCUS6 (1-844-627-2876).
The United Way of the National Capital Area - Their Emergency Assistance Fund will provide additional monies to nonprofits that provide food and housing to help them meet the increased demand for their services during the government shutdown.
Thrift Savings Plan – Furloughed federal employees can take a loan against their retirement savings in the TSP so long as they are in that status for fewer than 30 days. Members should read about the shutdown’s impact on TSP contributions, loans, and withdrawals.
Transportation Federal Credit Union – offering furlough preparedness and assistance including money management counseling, short term emergency furlough low-interest loan up to $3,000 to customers, and a Skip-A-Payment option (with fee waiver) for members who already have a consumer loan during the furlough period.
Unemployment Benefits - Federal employees may be eligible for Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE). The UCFE program is administered by state unemployment insurance (UI) agencies acting as agents of the Federal government. The program is operated under the same terms and conditions that apply to regular state UI. In general, the law of the state in which an individual’s official duty station in Federal civilian service is located will be the state law under which an individual’s eligibility for benefits is determined. Learn about your eligibility via an unemployment benefits finder.
U.S. Bank - Designed for their customers, this bank is offering new low-rate quick loans ranging from $100-$3,000. Customers encouraged to contact designated federal government shutdown service line at 877-760-6046.
USECU - offers loans to almost all members who have direct deposit of their government pay with USECU. They are interest free (0.00% APR) and for a term of up to 60 days. Approval for these short-term loans is not based on your credit score and credit reports will not be pulled. However, there are requirements to be met.
Wells Fargo – will consider reversing overdraft fees for customers whose income has been disrupted by the shutdown; and mortgage, loan and credit customers may qualify for forbearance or other payment assistance programs.
Retailers / Credit:
Several retailers and their financial institutions have voiced their willingness to assist federal workers who have been negatively affected due to the partial government shutdown, and have made options available to their clients. To learn more, contact the customer service departments. If you do not see your retail creditor on this list, you may still wish to contact their customer service and ask what, if any, temporary arrangements they have in place for federal government workers affected by the shutdown.
Comenity Bank (Jessica London, Roaman’s, FullBeauty, Woman Within, Kingsize, BrylaneHome, Ellos): Customer Care at 1-888-866-8932
Child Care Services and Schools:
M-NCPPC - Will be waiving child care and preschool fees for dependents of furloughed employees during the shutdown. This includes before and after childcare fees at community centers, therapeutic recreation including Pre-School, Leisure Skills Development, Leisure & Life Skills, Kids Care, Morning Care, Kids Club, Extended Care, and Kids Day Out. In addition, facilities will be waiving the requirement for membership fees to use the fitness rooms (only) at any of the 45 community centers, Wayne K. Curry Sports and Learning Center, Fairland Sports and Aquatics Complex, and Allentown Splash, Tennis and Fitness Park. This is for Prince George’s County residents only with an official furlough letter.
Prince George’s Community College - Eligible students impacted by the partial shutdown can get tuition assistance, one-time grants, holds on accounts and more to support their academic and career goals for the upcoming semester. To learn more about the criteria and required documents, students should contact the Tuition Assistance Hotline at 301-546-0154. In addition, the college offers free individual services and workshops on financial planning, budgeting, debt management, housing counseling, tax preparation, and more.
Prince George’s County Public Schools - The Excellence in Education Foundation Established a ‘10,000 Meals Challenge’ fund that will help pay for student meals during the partial shutdown and beyond. Those interested in donating to the fund may do so at this link.
Note to SNAP benefit recipients: To ensure you will be able to access your February SNAP/Food Supplement Program (FSP) benefits, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the federal agency that pays for FSP benefits, is working with states to issue February benefits earlier than usual. As a result, you will receive both your January and February monthly FSP benefits in January. If you already have an EBT card, you may continue to use that card and PIN. If you have lost your EBT card, please call the EBT Customer Service Call Center at 1-800-997-2222, to request a replacement card. If you need additional assistance during this time, please contact your local Department of Social Services (DSS) to learn about additional resources that may be available in your community. Visit this link to find a DSS location near you.
Crisis Assistance Program - The Crisis Assistance unit provides housing stabilization assistance to help residents avoid evictions, foreclosures, and other housing related crises. To determine if you are eligible, call 211 for a telephonic screening.
Emergency Food Assistance Program - Acts as a clearinghouse for the distribution of donated food. Over 30 local community pantries and shelters currently participate in the program. All food is provided to eligible individuals and families free of charge. Call 301-909-6343 for more information.
Emergency Services - The Emergency Assistance Program provides resources to citizens with dependent children who are under 21 years of age, who face and immediate crisis, and need help to resolve the situation. Emergency Assistance may cover, but is not limited to eviction notices, mortgage foreclosures, gas and electric turn-off notices, and delinquent water bills. Visit this website for more information.
Energy Assistance Program - The Energy Assistance unit provides bill assistance to eligible households to help with the prevention of loss and restoration of home energy service. Visit this website to determine if you are eligible. When calculating your income for the purposes of this program, please use the gross income received in your household by all members in the 30-day period immediately preceding the date of application.
Medical Assistance Program - The Medical Assistance program helps individuals and families pay for medical care. Assistance can include payment for doctor’s visits, exams, prescription costs, hospital bills, payment of Medicare premiums, etc. Apply here.
Temporary Cash Assistance Program - This program provides cash assistance to needy families with dependent children when available resources do not fully address the family’s needs, and while preparing program participants for independence through work. Applicants must interview face-to-face and all financial and technical eligibility factors must be met prior to issuance of benefits. Apply at this website.
Temporary Disability Assistance Program provides limited cash assistance to low-income disabled individuals without dependent children and who have no other resources. Visit website to apply.
The Food Supplement Program - This program helps low income people buy the food they need for good health. The amount of food supplement applicants are eligible for is based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Thrifty Food Plan. Click here to apply online.
Utilities & Service Providers:
Cable TV, Internet and Telephone Service Providers - AT&T, DIRECTV, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon and Xfinity/Comcast are willing to work with affected government employees by waiving late fees, providing extensions and revised payment schedules for their telephone (landline and mobile), cable t.v. and internet services. Verizon has a Promise To Pay agreement (that also removes fees) for clients who cannot pay until after they start getting paid again. Contact customer service departments for each company to learn more.
Dominion Energy - offering various forms of assistance, including payment extensions, long-term payment plans and bill payment assistance options. Assistance varies by state.
Home Serve Cares - This is a fund administered by HomeServe USA to aid qualifying WSSC customers faced with a plumbing emergency who do not have a HomeServe service plan or the necessary funds to cover emergency home repairs. Under this program, emergency repairs are made free of charge to the homeowner.
Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA) - Starting Friday, January 25, unpaid federal workers who need to keep working can ride for free with their federal government I.D. on MARC, Commuter Bus and BaltimoreLink services, which include CityLink, LocalLink, Express BusLink, Light RailLink and Metro Subway Link.
PEPCO - PEPCO is urging impacted federal workers to consider visiting their website to learn more about the available assistance programs being offered. They encourage those in need to consider applying for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program which provides utility assistance grants.
The Water Fund - Administered by The Salvation Army of Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, the Water Fund provides residents with financial hardship $300 maximum per year to help pay their WSSC bill.
Washington Gas - offering impacted federal workers flexible payment arrangements, payment deferments, budgeting plan, and financial assistance to pay for their bills via The Washington Area Fuel Fund. Customers should contact Washington Gas customer service representatives at 1-844-WASHGAS for more information and to discuss their individual situations.
Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) - will be suspending all water service shutoffs, waiving late fees, and working one-on-one with customers impacted by the partial shutdown. Information on their assistance programs can be found at this link.
AVAILABLE AT NO COST
&pizza – All D.C. locations offer free pizza pies for federal employees between 6pm-8pm during the shutdown.
Baked by Yael – Across from the National Zoo, this popular bakery offers free coffee for federal workers and contractors, and free bagel sandwiches or small orders of soup each weekday to zoo workers working without pay. This is while supplies last. Free cake pop classes for federal workers and contractors.
Carmine’s – Downtown DC – Free order of meatball sliders from 2-4pm during the shutdown. Their happy hour menu will be offered all day long at the bar for as long as the shutdown lasts.
Charlie Palmer - The steakhouse on Constitution Avenue is offering a free fried chicken sandwich to all government employees during the furlough with a government ID. Add a Blue Point Toasted Lager with fries for $12. Valid as long as the shutdown lingers for lunch guests at the bar only.
Chef José Andrés – All of celebrity Chef José Andrés’ ThinkFoodGroup restaurants are offering different free sandwiches each day from 2-5pm, to federal employees until they get paid again. You don’t want to miss these tasty sandwiches. Participating restaurants include: barmini by José Andrés, Beefsteak, China Chilcano, Jaleo DC, Oyamel, and Zaytinya.
Grilled Cheese DC - offering a free grilled cheese sandwich on Thursday, January 10 from 11 am - 3 pm, and at 4pm and each night afterward until the furlough is lifted, they will offer four cocktails at $5 - the drinks will be that price all night long. Must have government ID for offers.
Junction Bakery & Bistro - This Alexandria bakery if offering a free 12-ounce drip coffee to all federal government employees with work ID.
Pork Barrel BBQ – The award-winning pulled pork sandwich is being offered free of charge to furloughed federal employees and contractors until the shutdown ends.
Sardi’s - Every Tuesday during the furlough, show your Federal Government ID and get “Buy One, Get One Free” on a 1/4 Chicken meal or 3 Piece Dark meal. Additionally, Sardi’s will offer a 10% discount to furloughed government employees every day of the week; just show your ID at checkout.
The Capital Area Food Bank - partnered with Giant grocery stores, free produce will be offered each weekend (as of January 12) from 9am-12pm until the end of the partial government shutdown to the first 250 furloughed federal workers and contractors (with work ID). The five Giant locations are: 7074 Allentown Road, Camp Springs, MD 20748; 10480 Campus Way South, Largo, MD 20774; 1050 Brentwood Road, NE, Washington, DC 20018; 12051 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852; 6800 Richmond Hwy, Alexandria, VA 22306.
Z-Burger – offering a free single burger (plain, cheese, veggie or turkey) per person for federal workers at their Tenleytown location only, for those with a federal government ID card. This offer is not daily, so please check their Twitter page to learn about upcoming dates and offers. The next date is Thursday, January 10, 11am-7pm.
National Capital Baptist Convention
January 21, 2019, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Beltway Plaza, 6000 Greenbelt Road, Greenbelt, MD 20770
Ham and turkey giveaway at Beltway Plaza in Greenbelt, MD
Body & Mind:
Balance Gym - offering free workouts from 1-4pm on weekdays for all federal employees with ID.
Lighthouse Yoga Center - offering special $10 drop-in price for all their yoga classes with your government ID and you’re not working. No pre-registrations needed; they will make room for you. Workshops are excluded.
Children’s Parties: If your child has an upcoming birthday, Let’s Make A Face wants to relieve the stress related to the party expense. They offer a birthday experience featuring face painting, balloons and glitter tattoos. Federal government workers affected by the shutdown can defer their payments until 45 days after the government reopens.
Museums – Free admission during the shutdown to federal workers who show their ID badge: B&O Railroad Museum, National Building Museum, National Law Enforcement Museum, President Lincoln’s Cottage, The Newseum, The Phillips Collection, Woodrow Wilson House (which is usually closed during the month of January, will be open).
Arena Stage - For government employees affected by the shutdown, Arena Stage is offering a 40% discount on tickets totheir next production, "Kleptocracy" — which begins January 18. Use offer code GVT40 and show your government I.D. when you pick up from the Box Office.
Millennium Stage - Catch up on some of the performing arts at The Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage. Created to make the performing arts accessible to everyone, their free daily programs begin at 6pm. No advance tickets are required unless otherwise specified. Read how the federal shutdown may impact The Kennedy Center’s hours, programs and employees.
Shakespeare Company – Offering 50 percent off tickets to performances to Noura and Hamlet if you use the promo code “shutdown.” You’ll need a federal government ID to pick up tickets, but can buy tickets to any of the shows which will continue into March.
Signature Theatre - On January 23, federal employees (both military and civilian) can enjoy a special discounted performance of its upcoming Judy Garland: A Star Is Born cabaret. There is a four-ticket limit per federal employee. Show your federal ID when picking up tickets. Tickets include a glass of wine or beer for those ages 21+ or non-alcoholic beverage for those under 21 years old. Get your tickets now.
Discounted Drinks & Grub:
BBQ Bus – Founded by a former government contractor, this Georgia Ave. NW BBQ location will slash 25% off the entire menu for federal employees and contractors.
Capitol Lounge – $5 drink specials and cocktails with cute names such as “Nothing Really Mattis” (Mad Dog 20/20 and Vodka) and “Mexico Will Pay For This” (Montezuma Blue tequila, OJ and grenadine).
Catch 22 – 15% off the final bill (excluding happy hour) for all federal employees during the shutdown.
City Tap – in Penn Quarter has extended happy hour with $5 draft beers, $6 house wine and $7 beer and shot combos.
City Winery – in Ivy City has $1 glasses of its own City Winery wines on tap.
District Doughnut – on 8th Street in Southeast, Cady’s Alley in Georgetown, and at The Wharf, free coffee with any purchase as long as the shutdown lasts.
Fazoli’s - Through Sunday, January 13 - buy a drink and you’ll get a free fan-favorite Pizza Baked Spaghetti at participating locations with your federal government ID,
Granville Moore’s – on H Street – offers a 30 percent discount on draft beers until the government reopens.
Little Havana - Show your government ID and get half off all drinks every day until the shutdown is over at this new and colorful Cuban respite in D.C.
Pennsylvania 6 – on Eye St. NW – offering extended happy hour, from 3pm-9pm while shutdown lasts with special $5 mixed drinks, a draft beer and a house wine.
Sugar Shack Donuts – locations in D.C., Arlington and Alexandria will give federal workers with ID a free cup of coffee with any purchase.
The Brighton – in the Wharf - is offering 10% off its regular prices.
The Ugly Mug DC - offers ‘The Affordable Meal Act’ - each Tuesday starting January 15, enjoy $7 meal deals and drink specials starting at 4pm.
Koons of Silver Spring – offering federal government workers a free oil change, tire rotation, and inspection on any model and make of vehicle. Contact their service department at 844-851-2064.