Resources available for federal workers during the partial government shutdown


    The sun rises behind the White House in Washington, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2018. Hundreds of thousands of federal workers faced a partial government shutdown early Saturday after Democrats refused to meet President Donald Trump's demands for $5 billion to start erecting a border wall with Mexico. Overall, more than 800,000 federal employees would see their jobs disrupted, including more than half who would be forced to continue working without pay. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

    As the partial government shutdown grinds on, more than 800,000 federal employees and 4.1 million federal contractors are affected. That's left thousands without a way to make ends meet.

    Federal workers will go without paychecks beginning Jan. 11.

    While many across the DC area are nervous about their finances, several companies and organizations are making it easier to help those employees who may be struggling to pay their bills.

    ABC7 is On Your Side with a growing list of resources, programs and seminars to help affected employees during the shutdown:

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    Washington Gas

    As the partial shutdown of the federal government continues, Washington Gas announced on Tuesday that it will now offer flexible payment arrangements for government employees directly impacted.

    Washington Gas makes several payment plans and services available to customers who may have difficulty paying their bills. Customers should contact Washington Gas customer service representatives at 1-844-WASHGAS to discuss their individual situations.

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    DC Water

    DC Water announced on Wednesday a plan to immediately begin working with any federal worker who may need additional flexibility in paying their bill due to the partial government shutdown.

    DC Water already has multiple programs to assist customers who are struggling with their bills.

    Impacted federal workers can learn more about options by calling customer service at 202-354-3600. More details on customer assistance options can be found on their website.

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    WSSC

    In an effort to assist federal workers struggling to make ends meet as the government shutdown hits 19 days, WSSC announced on Thursday that it will suspend all water service shutoffs to ensure safe, clean water continues to flow to customer’s homes.

    Additionally, the state’s largest water utility serving 1.8 million residents in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties will waive late fees and work one-on-one with customers impacted by the shutdown to establish convenient payment plans.

    Customers are encouraged to contact WSSC and speak with a representative at 301-206-4001 or 1-800-828-6439 to discuss their specific situation.

    In addition to these new assistance measures targeted to customers impacted by the federal shutdown, WSSC offers a variety of affordability programs to help customers in need. Existing customer affordability programs include:

    • The Water Fund
    • CAP
    • The Bay Restoration Fund Financial Hardship Exemption Program
    • HomeServe Cares

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    Dominion Energy

    Dominion Energy is also offering assistance, including payment extensions, long-term payment plans and bill payment assistance options. For electric customers in Virginia, a Payment Extension provides more time to pay your bill. Participation depends on the status of your account, check to see are eligible.

    • If you are unable to pay by the extended payment due date, sign in to your account to review other Payment Plan options.
    • Extensions cannot be made while on Budget Billing or Bank Draft.
    • There are no fees associated with a short-term extension; however, late payment charges apply on any past due balance.

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    Pepco

    Pepco is also working to raise awareness about the programs it has in place to assist customers who may be struggling financially, including those impacted by the ongoing government shutdown.

    For customers in DC and Maryland, there are several programs, depending on the circumstance, that can help those in need including:

    For more information on such, contact Pepco either by phone (1-800-643-3768 - DC; 1-800-735-2258 - Maryland) or on their website.

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    Chase Bank

    Chase encourages its customers to call to discuss certain hardship programs if they are employees of, or do business with, a U.S. federal agency and their income is affected by the shutdown.

    Customers who are in financial need should call the special care line at 1-888-356-0023. Chase offers hardship programs to customers broadly who have been affected by unemployment, financial strain or natural disasters.

    In addition, Chase will automatically waive or refund overdraft and monthly service fees on Chase checking and savings accounts if an employee’s salary from an affected federal agency was direct-deposited into the account in November, 2018.

    Chase will waive or refund the affected fees from December 24 through January 4 or until the shutdown ends – whichever is sooner.

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    Navy Federal Credit Union

    Navy Federal Credit Union customers may be eligible for government shutdown assistance if their pay is impacted.

    Customers who have set up direct deposit of pay with Navy Federal, and are:

    • Federal government employees
    • Active Duty service members of the Coast Guard

    may be eligible for assistance. Contact the credit union for more information.

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    Andrews Federal Credit Union

    To help alleviate some of the associated stress from the partial government shutdown, Andrews Federal Credit Union is offering a Furlough Relief Loan* to their members to help bridge the gap:

    • Borrow up to $5,000
    • No payments for 90 days
    • 0% APR* for the first 90 days, 6.00% APR* applies for the remainder of the term.
    • Flexible terms up to 24 months

    For more information, click here.

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    M&T Bank

    As part of a variety of options to aid government employees who are affected by the government shutdown, M&T Bank is offering a low rate unsecured personal loan to their members:

    • A 2.50% APR1
    • 12-month fixed term loan2
    • Available for Loan amounts from $2,000 - $10,0001

    The offer ends February 28, 2019, or 15 days after government shutdown ends, if prior to February 28, 2019.

    For more information, click here.

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    Wells Fargo

    Wells Fargo is helping individuals who are experiencing hardship as a result of the federal government shutdown. The bank will work with individuals and business banking customers whose income is disrupted as a result of the shutdown.

    Customers should call 1-800-TO-WELLS, or the number on their credit card, debit card or statement for assistance, or visit any Wells Fargo branch.

    In addition, Wells Fargo mortgage, loan, and credit customers may qualify for forbearance or other payment assistance programs based on their individual circumstances. For help, customers should visit their website for more information.

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    Uber

    Uber is partnering with Chef José Andrés to make it easier for federal employees to get to and from World Central Kitchen and its resource center in D.C.

    The rideshare company will offer free rides to unpaid workers to and from the kitchen until the shutdown ends.

    For more information, click here.

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    MDOT MTA

    The Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA) will offer free transit to unpaid federal employees who are still reporting to work during the partial government shutdown.

    Federal employees who show their federal government I.D. can ride for free on MARC, Commuter Bus and BaltimoreLink services, which include CityLink, LocalLink, Express BusLink, Light RailLink and Metro Subway Link.

    For more information, visit the state of Maryland's website.

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    Prince George's County

    Residents of Prince George's County government and it's partners have worked collaboratively to provide relief. A list of available resources throughout the County can be found on their website.

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    Frederick County

    An estimated 4,000 Frederick County residents have been furloughed by the federal government’s partial shutdown. Residents of Frederick County and it's partners have worked to provide additional resources for county residents, including: food, medical, utilities, employment and other assistance.

    For more information, visit the County's website.

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    Montgomery County

    Montgomery County government officials have worked to provide additional resources for it's residents affected by the shutdown through it's 'Federal Shutdown Assistance Portal.'

    For more information on the portal and what the County is providing, visit their website.

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    Howard County

    Howard County Government officials have prepared a resource sheet to assist furloughed federal workers. The sheet provides ways to avoid utility service interruptions, negotiate with lenders to avoid impact on credit ratings, provide healthy meals for their children, and avoid scams targeting them.

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    Have any resources that we should add to the list? Email newsdesk@wjla.com, Tweet us @ABC7News, or message us on Facebook!

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