Banks, Restaurants, Union Plus Lend a Helping Hand to Feds During Shutdown

Categories: The Insider

It has been over three weeks since the Trump administration began forcing more than 800,000 federal employees to either work without pay or stay home without pay. Many employees live paycheck to paycheck and won’t be able to pay their mortgages and other bills if they don’t get paid on time.  

But amid the bad news, there is some good news. Some major banks have expressed their willingness to work with federal employees, albeit on a case by case basis. Many restaurants are offering free food or a discount to federal employees. 

Here’s a list of financial institutions that have expressed willingness to work with federal employees struggling with their loan repayments. If you are a customer of one of these banks or Fidelity & Guaranty Life Insurance Company, you can reach out to them for assistance.  

Have you checked out the AFGE government shutdown hub? We’re updating it regularly with the latest information, talking points, guidance and resource for those impacted by this shutdown.

Banks offering assistance to federal workers

1.    Wells Fargo  -- The bank will work with individuals affected by the shutdown. Call 1-800-TO-WELLS, or the number on your credit card, debit card, or statement for assistance, or visit any Wells Fargo branch. For more information about this assistance program, click here.  

2.     Bank of America  -- Bank of America has said it will work with customers on a case by case basis. Call the bank’s assistance line at (844) 219-069.  

3.     Citi  -Citi has said it is offering assistance to feds facing financial hardships. Click here or call the number on your card to request assistance.   

4.     Chase  -- Call 1-888-356-0023 for assistance.  

5.    Capital One-- Capital One is offering a number of options that could help feds whose income is disrupted as a result of the shutdown. “We want to do our part to support individuals and families in need during this stressful time. Please call us or visit any of our locations for further assistance.” Card holders should contact 1-800-622-2580.

6.     Navy Federal Credit Union -- The credit union is offering 0% APR loans during the government shutdown. Click here for more details.  

7.    First Command Financial Services -- The bank told CNN it is offering its bank clients who are federal employees interest-free payroll advances and other assistance. Click here for more information. 

8.     Democracy Federal Credit Union --The credit union told CNN it is offering a short-term emergency loan with 0% interest. Contact Democracy FCU Member Services at (800) 742-5582.  

9.     Fidelity & Guaranty Life Insurance Company -- Fidelity & Guaranty Life Senior Vice President John Phelps has reached out to AFGE to express the company’s appreciation for federal employees and their work for the American people. To help the nearly 27,000 AFGE members who currently have a policy with the company during this government shutdown, the company “will keep the policy-in-force by waving the cost of insurance charges for the next 30 days.”   

Need to find a local food bank or want to make a donation to help feds in need?  

Contact Feeding America 

Here’s Feeding America’s message to AFGE members: 

Dear AFGE Members –

As the government shutdown enters its fourth week and many of you face the reality of a missed paycheck, I am writing to share a resource available to help you and your families during this challenging time: AFGE is pleased to announce a partnership with Feeding America to help our members in this time of need. 

Feeding America is a national network of 200 food banks and 60,000 partner food pantries that serves individuals in every community across the country. The Feeding America network has already begun preparing for the national impact of the government shutdown and the anticipated need to assist federal employees who are either furloughed or currently working without pay. The contact information for your local food bank can be found here, and they will guide you through the process of accessing the resources that are available to you and your family.

Many of you who are working and still have a pay check coming in have also asked what you can do to help your fellow members whose families are affected by the shutdown. We ask that you consider making a donation to support Feeding America’s efforts. Every dollar you donate can help provide as many as 10 meals through the Feeding America network of food banks. You can make a donation here.    

If you have questions or would like additional information about Feeding America, please contact Kate Leone, Chief Government Relations Officer, at kleone@feedingamerica.org.

Thrifts Saving Plan   

The TSP has issued the following message in response to the shutdown: 

“The TSP allows for the suspension of loan payments when you go into nonpay status to prevent your loan from going into default. Normally, we require documentation from your agency or service. However, the TSP does not need documentation of your furlough at this time. If your loan payments were up to date prior to the furlough, missing one or two payments will not cause your loan to be in default. You can check the status of your loan by logging into My Account, selecting “TSP Loans,” and then selecting “Are my payments up to date?” Or you can call the ThriftLine at 1-877-968-3778 and speak to a Participant Service Representative. 

As long as retroactive pay is approved, all missed loan payments will be submitted and posted to your loan. We will provide more information as the furlough continues or as events change.” 

Union Plus 

If you are a union member who participates in certain Union Plus programs and have been impacted by the 2019 Federal Government shutdown, you may be eligible for financial assistance through the Union Plus Furlough Grant Program. 

Union Plus Credit Card: 

$300 Furlough Grant 

For eligible Union Plus Credit Cardholders2 who are furloughed or excepted due to the federal government shutdown. 

·       Must be a Union Plus Credit Cardholder for at least 3 months and in good standing on the date the federal shutdown began. 

·       Apply for a one-time grant at unionplus.org/hardship. 

Capital One's customer assistance program offers a number of options that could help customers whose income is disrupted as a result of the federal government shutdown and can help provide personalized assistance to those in need. For help, cardholders should contact: 1-800-622-2580. 

Union Plus Mortgage: 

·       Mortgage Assistance Loan & $300 Grant: for eligible Union Plus mortgage holders who are out of work or asked to work without pay due to an involuntary furlough that lasts for at least 15 consecutive calendar days. 

o   Must be a Union Plus Mortgage holder for at least 12 months and in good standing at time of the qualifying event. 

o   Your income must be reduced by an amount equal to at least 50% of the monthly mortgage payment. 

o   Interest-free loan to cover up to 6 months of mortgage payments and a $300 grant paid directly to the member 

o   Apply for grant at unionplus.org/hardship 

·       Wells Fargo is offering assistance on case-by-case basis: members may qualify for forbearance or other payment assistance programs based on their individual circumstances. For help, members should contact: 1-888-818-9147 Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Central Time Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Central Time  

Credit Counseling: 

·       Money Management International offers a FREE consumer credit counseling session, budget analysis, and money management advice to members. Call 1-877-833-1745  

Union Plus Life and Accident Insurance: 

·       Policyholders qualify for a payment grace period. Call 1-800-393-0864. 

Union Plus Personal Loan: 

·       First National Bank of Omaha is offering assistance on a case-by-case basis: members may qualify for fee waivers or other payment assistance programs based on their individual circumstances. For help, members should contact 1-888-283-5228 Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Central Time and Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Central Time.   

Union Plus Auto & Home Insurance 

·       For those not receiving a paycheck from the federal government as a result of the current shutdown, MetLife Auto & Home may grant a one-time, 30-day grace period on your payment of premium on a MetLife Auto & Home policy. Members must request this one-time allowance by calling 1-800-GET-MET8.  Certain restrictions apply, and premium remains due after delay expires.   

Union Plus Life and Accident Insurance  

·       The Hartford will offer qualified policyholders a payment grace period. For additional information, call 1-800-393-0864.    

United Consumer Financial Services Deferring Payments to Workers Affected by Federal Government Shutdown

January 14, 2019 (Cleveland) United Consumer Financial Services wants to tell its customers who have been furloughed or otherwise impacted by the shutdown of parts of the federal government that the company will defer their monthly payment for 30 days and will work with customers who contact them.

“We value our customers and are glad to help during this difficult time,” Girt said. “We ask anyone affected by the government shutdown to give us a call at 1-800-338-6507.”

“It’s the right thing to do,” says President Joe Francesconi. “It’s how we would want to be treated if we were in a similar circumstance beyond our control.” UCFS works with merchants to provide financing for their consumers.  UCFS serves a wide variety of industries including home products, medical procedures and equipment, home improvement projects, retail sales, funeral services and many more.

The company said it did not know how many of its customers were affected by the shutdown and said customers who call the company would be asked “a few simple questions to confirm their situation.” Then customers would be extended the courtesy of deferral, would not incur a late fee and not be “credit rated,” meaning that no report would be sent to a credit agency which could negatively affect the customer’s credit score.

David Girt, Director of Account Services, noted that the company has done this before with individuals impacted by hurricanes in Texas and Florida and flooding in Louisiana, providing as much as 90 days of deferral.

“We value our customers and are glad to help during this difficult time,” Girt said. “We ask anyone affected by the government shutdown to give us a call at 1-800-338-6507.”

About United Consumer Financial Services Company:UCFS is committed to integrity, responsibility and respect. UCFS provides businesses the opportunity to offer financing for their customers.  UCFS supports a broad range of businesses including retail merchants, professional service providers, distributors and in-home product/service providers within the medical, healthcare, home product, home improvement, pet and funeral markets.  UCFS is a Scott Fetzer company.  www.ucfs.net 

Contact: Emily Turner, Spaeth Communications, 850-766-2412 or emily@spaethcom.com.

Free food and discounts at various restaurants 

As the shutdown is most-felt per capita in the District of Columbia, restaurants in the Washington D.C. area are offering free food and drinks for federal employees who show their ID.  

·      Chef Jose Andres is offering free sandwiches from 2 to 5 p.m. at the bar for government employees at his D.C. restaurants: Jaleo, Oyamel, China Chilcano, America Eats Tavern. 

·      Baked by Yaelacross from the National Zoo, is offering free coffee and cake pop classes for federal workers and contractors. If you’re a zoo employee who is required to work taking care of the animals, you’ll get a free bagel sandwich and small soup. 

·       Except during happy hour, all federal employees get a 15% off at Catch 22, a seafood restaurant.  

·        A free order of meatball sliders for federal employees from 2-4 p.m. at Carmine’s in downtown D.C. Their happy hour menu will also be available all day long at the bar during the shutdown. 

·      &Pizza is offering one free pizza per government ID from 3 pm - 5 pm  

·       Free cup of Compass Coffee with any purchase at District Doughnut  

·       Free Shepherd's Pie during lunch or dinner at Ri Ra Georgetown. 

·       20% off cases of wine at Bacchus Wine Cellar for those affected by the shutdown, plus 15% off 3-6 bottles, and 10% off liquor. 

·       Free glass of Prosecco with any purchase at The Graham Georgetown's Speakeasy, the Alex. 

·       20% off any purchase at Haagen-Dazs (3120 M St NW)  

·       20% off at Ristorante Piccolo  

·       Free two appetizers with any 12" pizza for $30 at Pizzeria Paradiso. 

·       Free cup of coffee with any purchase at Olivia Macaron. 

·      Sequoia is offering percentage discounts equivalent to the years customers have been employed by the federal government Monday through Friday during the shutdown. But all feds get at least 10% off.  

·      Across the Pondlocated in the Dupont Circle neighborhood, is offering a 10% discount. 

·       Federal employees get an 18% discount at the Queen Vic 

·       Furloughed employees get a complimentary traditional taco at Taco Bamba’s Chinatown location. 

·       Stop by Broccoli Bar everyday between 11-6pm for free &pizza.

·       The Crystal City BID is offering a free meal to federal employees (and a guest) with a valid government ID from 11:30am - 1:30pm at a different local eatery each day

This is a developing list and will be updated. 

Need to find veterans services, shelter or other programs in your area? 

United Way & 2-1-1 Services Near You

United Way, one of the AFL-CIO’s national partners, supports 2-1-1, a free nationwide information and referral line that helps people find local resources they may be eligible to obtain 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The 2-1-1 line can be accessed by phone or computer. A toll-free call to 2-1-1 connects you to a community resource specialist in your area who can put you in touch with local organizations that provide critical services, including:

  • Supplemental food and nutrition programs;
  • Shelter and housing options, and utilities assistance;
  • Employment and education opportunities;
  • Services for veterans; and
  • Health care and mental health services.

Call 2-1-1 and speak with a live, highly trained service professional in your area from any cell phone or landline. All calls are private and confidential, and assistance is available in multiple languages.

Or visit 211.org to locate organizations in your community that provide support and assistance to working families in their time of need.

To find a local United Way in your community and learn about potential additional resources, visit unitedway.org/find-your-united-way.

And if you know of a worker impacted by the shutdown, please share this with them as well.

Resources for single parents 

Single Parent In Need Foundation Executive Director Tamara Mandel has reached out to AFGE to offer assistance to feds who are single parents and need a little financial assistance during the shutdown. The nonprofit gives financial grants to single-parent families who are in immediate need.  

Here’s the contact info:  

Tamara Mandel  
Executive Director
 
Single Parent In Need Foundation
 
818-849-5910 (o) 
818-631-0069 (c) 
www.spinfoundation.org 

Here’s their mission statement 

The mission of the Single Parent In Need (SPIN) Foundation is to provide crisis relief funding to single-parent families living predominantly in the United States. SPIN will act as a financial cushion by providing monetary assistance, or gap funding, as needed, for everyday life expenses that encompass healthcare, housing, and education, transportation, as well as other fundamental basic human needs such as financial assistance for food and clothing. SPIN will work closely with churches, youth groups and community based outreach organizations to establish where the urgency for funds is most needed. In today’s tough economic climate, SPIN will help those who are in a desperate, and sometimes unexpected place in their lives. When the world feels like it’s SPINning out of control, we’re here to let single parents know they’re not alone.


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