Federal Government Workers: call 2-1-1 for assistance and information

January 10, 2019 | Peter Gannon & Rushka Tcholakova

As the government shutdown enters its 20th day, the effects are starting to be felt by the 420,000 federal employees working without pay and the 380,000 federal employees who have been furloughed. On January 10, thousands of federal employees will miss their first paychecks of 2019.

Based on the United Way of NYS ALICE report, we know that nearly 43% of working households in the Greater Capital Region already struggle to make ends meet even with a consistent paycheck, and nearly 30% of households don’t have the emergency savings in place in the event of a job loss. For many workers not getting a paycheck means they have little to no resources to survive. 

United Way’s Call 2-1-1 can help.    

  • 2-1-1 is committed to helping our communities impacted by the federal government shutdown. Furloughed federal employees and government contractors in need of social services and individuals with questions about availability of public benefits can call 2-1-1 to get help.

  • Our 2-1-1 specialists can help those in need connect to food pantries, health care services and utility and eviction prevention assistance. Callers also can receive information on mental health counseling, transportation, job training, substance use recovery services, child care and volunteer opportunities.

  • Additional information about unemployment benefits for furloughed employees is available from OPM. Click here for details.

Call 2-1-1 is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can serve callers in nearly 200 languages.  Call specialists are trained to provide services in a confidential and compassionate manner.  

Local programs we currently know of include:
  • Unity House (2431 Sixth Avenue, Troy): furloughed federal workers are welcome to attend the community meals served Monday – Friday, 11:30a.m. – 1:30p.m. through the month of January. Food pantry is open Mon., Weds., Fri. 9:30a.m. – 12:00p.m.

  • Trinity Alliance (15 Trinity Place, Albany NY): furloughed federal workers are welcome to utilize our food pantries at Trinity Alliance or Arbor Hill location (47 N Lark street, Albany) Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday 10 am- 4:30 pm, Wednesday 11 am- 6 pm.

    • Trinity Alliance also offers emergency rental and utilities assistance (there is an intake process) they can contact the FNRC office directly at 518-449-5155 ext. 125 or 127

  • Mechanicville Area Community Services (6 South Main Street, Mechanicville): all are welcome to come in – fresh produce in the lobby Monday-Friday about noon; food pantry 11-1 Tuesdays, 6-8pm Thursdays, advocates available to help with navigation of assistance some may be eligible for (i.e. HEAP, SNAP, Childcare subsidy, WIC applications); onsite facilitated enrollers for health insurance questions  

  • The Food Pantries of the Capital District  (32 Essex St):  Federal workers and others affected by the shutdown can contact the Food Pantries for the Capital District — a coalition of the area's food pantries — at 518-458-1167 to get referrals or to find their local food pantry.  Or on line at www.thefoodpantries.org.  

Banks and credit unions are also responding.  
  • SEFCU is offering a special program to assist affected members. Federal government employees may:

    • *Take penalty-free withdrawals from Share Certificates

    • *Skip your vehicle loan (excluding Auto Advantage), RV, Boat, Sports Craft, personal loan and personal line of credit payments for up to three months.

    • *Apply for a personal loan with reduced interest rates.  Qualified borrowers may borrow up to $2,500.

    • *Some restrictions may apply.

    • If you have been impacted by the federal government shutdown, call SEFCU’s Member Solutions Center at 800-727-3328 or visit www.sefcu.com to find out if you are eligible.

  • JPMorgan Chase has extended the automatic waive/funds past Jan. 4. For individuals who have a mortgage, credit card, or car loan through Chase should contact 1-888-356-0023. For details on Chase’s programs, visit: https://media.chase.com/news/chase-assists-during-government-shutdown

  • Capital Bank is working with their clients on a case-by-case basis. Please visit your local branch. 

  • Bank of America is working with their clients on a case-by-case basis to help address their financial needs. Bank of America’s Client Assistance Program is available and designed to help clients experiencing financial hardship. Clients can call Bank of America’s assistance line at 1-844-219-0690.

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  • Customers who are employed by the Federal Government with concerns that they will be unable to pay their bills as a result of the government shutdown should call customer service at 1-800-642-4272

We will be updating this list as additional information becomes available 

Call 2-1-1 helps individuals and families navigate through the maze of health and human service agency phone numbers in order to get to the services best suited for them. When you don’t know what number to call, call 2-1-1. There’s a friendly voice ready to listen and assist.