Resources for Furloughed Government Employees

I’m on a lot of listservs that vary by city after spending so much time living in different parts of the country. I received this list of ways to assist the federal employees living in the DMV area from one such listserv that offers resources in the Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia area (or DMV for short) — if anyone reading this has resources for federal employees in other areas, feel free to post and I can update this blog.
FYI – Furlough Information (DMV area)
Since the federal government remains closed affecting over 360,000 federal employees in the Greater Washington, DC Metropolitan Area, lets transform this “sour lemon situation” into a “lemonade experience”. Enclosed below is a listing of businesses and organizations around the DMV that are offering freebies and special deals to furloughed employees with proper Federal Work I.Ds. Please keep your spirit up and remain positive!
1. Financial Assistance: 
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.
First Command Financial Services – offering solutions including interest-free payroll advances, as well as other assistance.
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.
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.
USAA – offering low-interest loans to their Coast Guard and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration uniformed officer base, affected by the shutdown. Visit this link to learn more.
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.
2. Utilities
DC Water – Furloughed federal workers who are having hardship paying their bill can learn more about the various program offerings by contacting customer service at 202-354-3600.
Dominion Energy – offering various forms of assistance, including payment extensions, long-term payment plans and bill payment assistance options. Assistance varies by state.
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.
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.
3. Food: FREE
&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.
Taco Bamba – The Chinatown location is offering a free traditional taco with your federal government ID card.
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.
4. Discounted Drinks & Food:
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.
5. Performances: Free and Discounted shows
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.
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company – Federal workers can take 15% off tickets to the upcoming BLKS, which opens February 4. Use promo code SHUTDOWN.
6. 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.
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About Joshunda Sanders

Novelist, Educator. Rep'd by Serendipity Lit. @JoshundaSanders on Twitter | @joshunda on IG.