How you (and your finances) can survive the federal closure


The partial halt of the federal government has no end in sight, and, what is more worrying for federal employees, no wage either.

The closure removed 380,000 federal workers and forced another 420,000 to work without pay. President Donald Trump said he was ready to keep the government closed for months or even years for his demands to be met. But even if an agreement is reached and the government reopens, it may take some time for anyone to win a new paycheque or receive a return wage.

It's a burden that few American households can afford without effort. Some experts give advice on how to cope:


Sit down and see what bills are due or will be soon.

Rank your obligations by importance in case you can not meet them all. Mortgage and utility bills should be at the top of the list, followed by credit card and other revolving debt payments. Consider making the minimum payments on your credit cards at the moment. Then examine all other expenses to determine what is essential and what can be reduced. Limit expenses to the essentials only until payroll resumes.

Contact lenders

Contact lenders to find out about your mortgage, credit cards, car loans and other expenses to discuss your options.

The advantage is that companies are aware of the situation and that a number of them offer their help.

Chase, on the other hand, automatically refunds overdrafts or monthly service fees for clients who have directly deposited federal paychecks into savings accounts and current accounts since the start of the closure. It also offers a variety of challenging options to customers in the automotive, credit card and mortgage sectors. AT & T has announced that it will remove late fees, offer extensions and collaborate with customers for flexible payments for telephony, Internet and television services, as long as the closure is effective.

Several major banks, such as Bank of America and Wells Fargo, also offer their programs to help people in difficulty with federal officials and other victims of the closure. Conditions vary, but generally include deferred payment options, canceled fees or loan modifications on various products. Small banks also took action: Oceanfirst Bank, New Jersey, announced that it would grant forbearance or temporarily suspend mortgage payments for up to 90 days to borrowers whose revenues are affected by closing.

But you have to contact the companies for any assistance.


It is time to find money to help you.

Households without emergency savings should consider other sources of liquidity, such as the sale of assets, whether it is inventory or unused items around the house. Other options include withdrawals from a Roth IRA, which are tax and penalty free; borrowing on life insurance policies with cash value; or using a home equity line of credit.

Remember to borrow from the family if the complications are not too many.

There are also good opportunities to borrow elsewhere. Some banks, such as the Navy Federal Credit Union, offer some clients affected by the closure a loan of up to $ 6,000 at 0% APR. Others, like USAA, offer low interest loans to some affected workers. The American Federation of Teachers, a union representing a number of federal government employees, also offers interest-free loans to its affected members.

Try to avoid riskier sources of money, such as the acquisition of your pension reserve or your university savings for children; long-term negatives may not be worth the short-term relief. Avoid securities lending or payday loans because interest rates are exorbitant. Although some credit card uses are understandable, be aware that these balances may become due before your payroll resumes.


You may be able to look for unemployment depending on your job and where you live. Unemployment rules are determined by state law. The question of whether you are eligible therefore depends on your state of origin, said Tom Spiggle, founder of Spiggle Law Firm in D.C.

A word of warning: you would be obliged to repay to the state all the benefits you would have received if unemployment were granted to you, but later you receive a salary in return.


Federal workers can find another paid job as long as there is no ethical rule or law that prohibits it, Spiggle said. Some positions may prohibit you from doing related work, but may also allow you to do freelance work.

The story continues

The US Coast Guard has suggested that employees organize garage sales or guarding deals, walk pets, or earn cash – tips that were seen by many as deaf and then removed from the site. Web of a support program. But unfortunately, this can happen to many families. The flexibility and liquidity found in the entertainment economy can be essential for some workers.

Barbara O Neil, a financial planner and professor at Rutgers University, suggests that workers list their skills and think of ways to convert them into a revenue stream.

However, time can be a problem for those who work without pay. Spiggle said that there had been speculation that TSA agents who had called for patients were doing so to work differently to make ends meet. He warns that it is an abuse of sick leave and that it could be sanctioned or even dismissed by a worker.


If you find that you can not cope, look for public help available. Call 211 or visit to find out about the human services programs available in your community. SNAP – the complementary nutritional assistance program – energy assistance and pantry are examples. Several food banks across the country have made themselves available to individuals or families at risk of hunger due to closure.


Dennis Nolte, vice president and financial planner at Sea Coast Investment Services, Florida, has a sense of helplessness at this frustrating situation for workers. Workers "have no idea of ​​the land when they can get back to work" and are stuck in bizarre limbo between workers and the unemployed. He recommends talking to friends or family members or forming a group with colleagues to share uncertainty about uncertainty in order to limit stress.