Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Resources for Federal Employees - Shutdown 2019

UPDATING:  Last Update 01/17/2019 11:37am EST

Follow These Hashtags on Twitter for more information:
 #ShutdownHelp #ShutdownStories #ShutdownAssistance

DIABETIC SUPPLIES: If you are suffering from the shutdown and in need of diabetic supplies, we may be able to connect you to help.  Please contact @AltUSPressSec on Twitter or by email at 



TSP Retirement Updates (including outstanding loans)
“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.”
-No-- action needed as of (1/10/19).

  • Coverage will continue during the government shutdown.
  • FedVip may bill clients directly if the length of shutdown requires it.
  • Direct bill customers should continue to pay on time.
  • When deductions resume, missed payments will be collected.FSA Feds
  • Payroll allotments may be suspended due to the length of the shutdown.
  • When allotments are successfully restarted, any remaining allotments will be recalculated over your remaining pay periods to match your annual election amount.
If you have questions about how the shutdown impacts your FSAFEDS enrollment or claims, please contact WageWorks, Inc. (who administers these processes for FSAFEDS).

FLTCIP (Federal Long Term Care Insurance)-coverage will continue during the government shutdown --No-- action needed as of (1/10/19).
  • FedVip may bill clients directly if the length of shutdown requires it.
  • Direct bill customers should continue to pay on time.
  • When deductions resume, missed payments will be collected.

Chrysler Capital: (no website, call customer service)

Ford Credit: 1-800-727-7000

GM Financial:  If you have been impacted by the federal government shutdown and need to discuss options that vary from your scheduled due date, please contact our customer service department. LINK

Lexus: Lexus Financial Services customers may call 800-874-7050 or contact LFS via email using the Mail Center function after logging into

Subaru Motors Finance (Chase): extensions on a month to month basis. They are waiving interest accruals during the shutdown.

Toyota: Toyota Financial Services customers may call 800-874-8822 or contact TFS via email using the Mail Center function after logging into

VW Credit: call Volkswagen Credit at 1-800-428-4034 for payment assistance options.


PAYDAY Lenders:  Do not rush out to a payday lender to get a short term loan, in most cases they offer extremely high rates and unrealistic terms.  You are probably better off going to your regular banking institution and getting a zero or low interest short term loan.  

Alaska USA FCU‏ (Visit any Alaska USA branch or call the Member Service Center at 1-800-525-9094)

Ally: If you've been impacted by the government shutdown, you can contact us to discuss your options.

Alpine Bank (Colorado):The bank is welcoming any furloughed federal worker into any of the branches to give them an advance on their paychecks. Employees are asked to bring in their Colorado and Federal ID plus their most recent federal payroll statement. The bank will then match that paycheck.The loan will not require any payment during the shutdown. Then after the shutdown, every worker has six months to pay the bank back the amount of the advance. The offer is open to any furloughed employee in the state. Membership at Alpine Bank is not required.

America First Credit Union: America’s First Federal Credit Union is ready to assist our members that have been affected by the current government shutdown. If you have been furloughed from your current employer, you may be eligible for assistance. Assistance options range from temporarily reduced payments to short-term payment deferments.  Website Link

American Express: Assisting consumer, small business, and corporate card members who are affected by the shutdown by waiving late fees, return check fees, and future interest charges.

Avadian Credit Union (Alabama): 0% APR loans during shutdown Employees affected by the government shutdown wanting to take advantage of this loan offer should stop by their local Avadian branch, visit, or call 1.888.AVADIAN (1.888.282.3426).

Bank of America: The bank's Client Assistance Program is offering personalized financial assistance and can be reached at 844-219-0690.

Bank of the West: Please call 1-800-488-2265, option 9 for assistance.

Capital One: Call 1-877-383-4802, visit Capital One or any location.  Offering a Late fee removal program, but will still effect your FICO credit score and still incurs interest.

Chase: Program Special Care Line: 888-356-0023

Citibank: Offers fee and interest adjustments to customers facing hardships and mortgage assistance needs. Includes Home Depot and Sears Cards

Chemical Bank:  Waved Late fees on mortgages  Website Link

Community America Credit Union (Kansas City Area): Call 913.905.7000.

Congressional Federal Credit Union: “Relief Line of Credit” with an interest-free rate over 60 days is available for furloughed employees.

Credit Union 1:

Credit Union of Denver: 
Providing payment deferrals, specific loans with first 30 days of 0% interest, and also waiving CD penalty fees if members need to cash in early. Website Link

Coast Central Credit Union (NW California):0% interest loan for 60 days. The value of the loan is about 1 month worth of pay. For more info, stop by a branch or give them a call. (NOTE: Must have been a member for 90 days to qualify.)

Department of Commerce Federal Credit Union: offering emergency loans and special payment arrangements

Discover: Offering potential skipped payments or late fee reversals for missed payments. To request assistance, call 800-347-3085.

Ent CU:  
Ent has had a program in place for these furloughs dating back to 2011.  Currently, we are offering members affected by the shutdown a 90-day 0% interest single-pay loan up to their monthly payroll deposit with Ent (maximum loan amount $7,500).  For additional assistance on loan obligations with Ent, we will remind members of our skip-a-pay program or put them in contact with our Member Solutions Department for other assistance such as deferment options on eligible loans.  Website Link

Elevations CU:  We’re proud to provide peace of mind and assistance to our members who are impacted by the federal government furlough by offering two assistance plan options.  Website Link

Fed Choice Federal Credit Union: (Several options for new accounts, loans, and payment help.)

First Command Financial Services (Military membership): Issuing zero-interest payroll advances, offering loan assistance, penalty-free early withdrawal, and waiving cash advance fees to affected Coast Guard and federal employee clients.

First Oklahoma Bank - will allow Federal customers to overdraw checking up to the amount of normal paycheck. 918-392-2500 News stories: KFOR news link / KJRH News

First US Community Credit Union:  Payroll assistance, short term loans. Website Link

Hebrew Free Loan Association of Greater Washington: The HFLAGW has made available emergency loans ranging from $500 to $2000 to current Federal employees adversely affected by the shutdown. PLEASE NOTE: The loan will become due within two weeks upon resumption of Federal pay

Home Depot Card: (See Citibank)

Icon Credit Union (Boise, Idaho Area): Are you or someone you know affected by the Federal government shutdown? Icon is offering personal loans up to $5,000 (on approved credit) with no payments for 90 days FOR ALL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, INCLUDING NON-MEMBERS. If you have an existing loan with Icon, you’re eligible for a Skip-a-Payment option with no fee. Visit a branch for details:

Idaho Central Credit Union: Offering a 0% “Payroll Advance” unsecured loan for ALL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES INCLUDING NON-MEMBERS. Individual loans will not exceed what you previous paycheck indicated. (If your last check was $1900 for example, that is what they will loan you. Additional loans might be possible as long as the monthly amount doesn’t exceed $5000.) The first repayment is after 60 days. For more information, drop by a branch or visit
Justice Federal Credit Union (DOJ and DHS employees with 6 months or more current membership): Offering unsecured loans up to $3000 at 3.19% interest with deferment up to 90 days. Other assistance is available.

Landmark Credit Union (Wisconsin): Nothing official in place but you can call and they may be willing to defer loan payments. (Case-by-case basis)

Lowes (see Synchrony Bank)

Mountain America Credit Union: If you have been furloughed due to the government shutdown, Mountain America may have options to help with your individual situation. Please call the number associated with your loan type to discuss your options.  Website Link

Navy Federal Credit Union: (0% interest loans for all feds for 60 days)

Pentagon Federal Credit Union: (0% interest loans for 60 days, 4% after for 36 months)1-800-247-5626

Pinellas Federal CU:  If your income is directly affected by the Government #Shutdown, Pinellas Federal Credit Union can help.  Give us a call at 727-586-4422 and ask to speak to our Lending Department for assistance options.

PNC Bank: PNC is prepared to waive monthly service fees and take other appropriate actions for government employees who are experiencing financial difficulty due to the shutdown. Please call 1-888-762-2265

Quicken Loans: (no info yet - call customer service)

Redwood Credit Union: Deferred payments on Credit Cards and loans, plus no penalties for up to 2 months. Call 800-479-7928 or Website Link

Sears Card: (See Citibank)

Service Credit Union: Financial Assistance During Government Shutdown Website Link

Sound Credit Union:  Sound is proud to stand with our members and community through all waves of life. If that includes an impact to your income due to the government shutdown, you may qualify for some flexible options through our Member Support Program including special loans or payment terms.  Website Link

Stockman Bank (Montana): Stockman Bank says its help will depend on individual customers needs, and that the bank will work with them to make accommodations, restructure debt, protect their credit and reduce stress. Belgrade News

SunTrust: Please contact us by calling the number on your card, your statement, or you can contact us at 800.SUNTRUST

Sunwest Educational CU:  
Allowing payment deferrals, specific loans with first 30 days of 0% interest, and also waiving CD penalty fees if members need to cash in early. Website Link

Synchrony Bank (Lowes, Care Credit and other businesses) We are waiving certain fees and charges for impacted customers. We are also working with customers to evaluate increases in credit limits on their cards to help with additional, necessary purchases. Synchrony Bank is increasing ATM withdrawal limits for those impacted as well.

TruWest CU: Several Assistance Programs Website Link

USAA: 800-531-USAA (8722) Ask to defer one month's payment without penalty (just extends the original loan a month). Just need to let them know 4 business days before automatic withdrawal is scheduled. You can do this once a year. USAA is prepared to offer a no-interest, 0% Annual Percentage Rate (APR) payroll advance to military personnel with existing direct deposit at USAA. If a disruption in payments seems likely, USAA will email those members and provide information in the "My Offers" section of

US Bank: 1-yr low-interest loan (0.01%) up to $6,000 for Federal employees affected by the shutdown and who are current US Bank customers.

US Eagle FCU: Furlough relief solutions include a government shutdown loan with no interest for the first 90 days, loan modifications and extensions, expansion of overdraft/Courtesy Pay programs, and counseling to best manage finances. Link
US Employees Credit Union (0% interest loans for all feds for 60 days) NOTE: Loan applications will not be accepted after January 15th!

Yellowstone FCU:  Yellowstone federal credit union has a number of options available for federal employees affected by the government shutdown.  These options Include short-term, no interest loans, and loan extensions for existing loans.  Other terms and conditions may apply. Please call our Office(307-344-7974) for more details.  Website Link


AT&T (Also for DirecTV customers):
Sprint: Impacted customers should call 888-211-4727 or do an online chat at

T-Mobile: Customers can call T-Mobile Customer Care to discuss options at 611 from a T-Mobile device or 877-746-0909 from any phone.

See list provided by USA Today:

4 Brothers Pizza Vernal, UT:  If you are a Federal Employee Furloughed we would like to help just a little.  We know struggle and we know unexpected things happen but we’ve also been blessed by the Grace of God and people show up at the most needed times! Facebook Link

Baked by Yael: federal employees and contractors free coffee for the duration of the current partial government shutdown, while supplies last. The bakery is also offering a free bagel sandwich or small soup each weekday while supplies last to essential Zoo employees who must stay at work to keep the animals safe. Baked by Yael is also offering free cake pop classes for federal employees and contractors, with details at

Catholic Community Services - Ogden, UT: The food bank, located on 2504 F Avenue in Ogden, is open to all federal workers Tuesdays and Thursday from 9 to 11 a.m. They also extended their hours Thursday night from 4 to 6 p.m.

Lakeview Food Bank - Chicago, IL:  Lakeview Pantry is offering to help with one of those bills. The pantry, 3945 N. Sheridan, is offering any furloughed worker two weeks worth of groceries, the agency said in a statement. Workers must present a valid government ID to receive the groceries.

GEICO: To discuss postponing payments on your policy and billing options, please contact us anytime online or by phone at (800) 207-7847. Website Link
GoodRx: If you're a federal worker hurt financially by the government shutdown, we're offering free membership to our premium savings program, GoodRx Gold. Save up to 90% on medications that you and your family need.  Website Link

Safeco Insurance:  Safeco Insurance helping those not receiving a paycheck due to the Government shut down.  Website Link

USAA: See USAA under the Bank Section.

Planet Fitness: Planet fitness is suspending memberships for patrons with no signing fee or anything when you sign back up once the shutdown is over.

Comcast/Xfinity: Federal workers in financial trouble can contact the company at 1-800-934-6489 to find a payment solution that works for them.

Dominion: Customers can request extensions, create an agreement to pay balances off over time, and request payment assistance.

Enstar Natural Gas:

GCI: (no link yet to a shutdown-specific page)

Memphis (TN) Light Gas and Water: offering assistance to furloughed government employees by enacting our Hardship Policy for eligible customers.

Rocky Mountain Power: Please contact us at 1-888-221-7070 and one of our billing specialists would be happy to help.
Washington (DC) Gas: offering flexible payment arrangements to government employees

Workforce Management - Information on the shutdown, furloughs, excepted service, etc. Also location for official furlough notices, unemployment forms, and FAQ about health and retirement benefits.
Click here for sample letters you may use as a guide when working with your creditors during this furlough. If you need legal advice please consult with your personal attorney.
ABA offers free CLEs to affected lawyers: Website Link

OPM guidance for unemployment benefits: Click here

California Unemployment Office:  FAQ

United Way of the National Capital Area (Washington D.C.) has provided $50,000 through its Emergency Assistance Fund to area nonprofits to meet people’s basic needs. 

United Way of Genesee County (Flint, Mich.) launched a fund to help federal workers with emergency needs, specifically food, transportation and current utility payments.

Mile High United Way
  • (Denver, Colo.) has a variety of resources for federal workers through 2-1-1 to connect people to health care services, food pantries, mental health resources, childcare, and utility and eviction prevention assistance.
  • A new Temporary Mortgage Assistance program will offer financial assistance to homeowners who are facing hardship due to unexpected changes in their employment status – including furlough, temporary layoff or significant reduction of hours worked. The program, being offered through a partnership with Mile High United Way’s 2-1-1 Call Center, will provide households up to two months or $5,000 maximum of help to cover mortgage payments. The Program will be begin accepting applications this Wednesday, January 16 through Mile High United Way’s 2-1-1 Call Center.

United Way for Southeastern Michigan (Detroit, Mich.) is directing federal employees who call 2-1-1 to available resources, and coordinating food box distribution with local food pantries.

United Way of Bay County (Bay City, Mich.) established a Community Services Emergency Fund to provide cash payments to furloughed government workers for household bills, groceries and other basics.

United Way of King County (Seattle, Wash.) is participating in local resource fairs for federal workers organized by the Port of Seattle. 

United Way of Washtenaw County: (Ann Arbor, Michigan) encourages anyone, including furloughed federal workers, needing help to call 2-1-1 for assistance and resource navigation for help with food pantries, etc… Twitter Link

Utah Unemployment Office: FAQ

Learn a New Language w/Rosetta Stone (3 month trial)

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema: Four Virginia locations are offering federal employees free movies throughout the month of January to “help cure the Government Shutdown blues,” the company posted on Facebook.
Adler Planetarium (Chicago) Free admission for employees of the federal government who are furloughed or working without pay during the shutdown.
Boulevard Brewing (KC) -Show your U.S. issued employee ID. You'll get a free beer and a 50 percent discount on your tab that can be used on food or whatever you order.

Brewvies Ogden, UT is offering $5 movie tickets to affected federal employees

Colorado Symphony:  The Colorado Symphony is offering two free tickets* to all federal employees impacted by the furlough. Choose from the Mendelssohn Double Concerto or the Classical Romance concerts. To reserve tickets, present a valid government ID at the Colorado Symphony Box Office. Hours are Mon-Fri 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sat 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Website Link

Denver Art Museum: The Denver Art Museum is offering free general admission to all furloughed federal government employees plus one guest through Jan. 31, 2019. "Dior: From Paris to the World" is not included in general admission and requires a separate ticket. Website Link

Denver Firefighter Museum: Free admission for furloughed government workers with a valid federal ID. Website Link 

Denver Museum of Nature & Science: Through the end of January, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science is offering free general admission to all federal employees impacted by the furlough when they show their government ID in person at the museum. Website Link

Oregon Zoo - free admission for federal employees and their families

OKC National Memorial and Museum is offering free admission for federal employees

Utah's Hogle Zoo:  To our friends who are federal employees, we'd like to invite you to the Zoo - free admission. We're hoping it helps alleviate some worry during the government shutdown. This is for federal workers and their immediate families (just bring government ID). Hang in there!  Facebook Link 

 (review the Hatch Act

Some of the items in this list came from another document.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Uber is uber easy!

So one of the things I have learned this week is Uber is uber easy and cheap! Instead for walking miles or even trying to navigate the Metro, just call an Uber.  The Uber drivers are very nice and most of them, this is their main job.

While Taxi service is plentiful in the D.C. Metro area, the Metro rails are not well covered yet, and the price difference between them are huge. Riding the Metro during the day cost on average of just a few dollars.  However the taxi service is ridiculous in price and is very expensive. There is another option, and that is the Super Shuttle, prices are cheaper than taxi and can be higher than Uber, depending on trip.  The Super Shuttle will only pick up or drop off at an airport.

I was staying in DC a mile away from a conference that I was attending. I was advised by the hotel staff that walking was not a good idea due to the location of the hotel (which I soon found out later that night).  So my options were Taxi, Uber, or Metro which included a ¼ mile walk in the opposite direction and then an additional ¼ at the other end.  Metro would have been the cheapest at just $1, but with the walk and my bag, it was not suitable for my needs.  A taxi was almost $10 to go just a mile away.  The taxis are plentiful as they are sitting on literally every corner waiting for passengers.  I decided to go with Uber for the first time and it was a choice that I would not regret.  The ride cost $5.40, this broke out into fees and other charges.  Base Fare of $1.15 (this is the charge you pay just ordering an uber. Distance of 1.24 miles equates to a $1.32 charge. They do also charge for time, so if there are delays or rush hour traffic you will get charged more.  I was charged $1.43 for eight and a half minutes of travel time.  There is also a $1.35 booking fee, also charged when ordering an Uber as well as a percentage tax for the D.C. Taxi Tax, I paid 5¢.

Some things to look out for with Uber are the different types of service they offer.  They get more and more expensive as you go up in options.  If there are shortages of Uber driver in your area or there is a surge of people requesting Uber in your area, then Uber may charge you a “Uber Surge” charge.  This can be 1.3 times to 2.1 times the normal rate. You can either wait a few minutes to see the surge rate go down or pay the fee. Also you do NOT need to tip, Uber actually says that tips are not required and drivers are getting a great fare rate.  Uber keeps 20% of the fare and the driver keeps 80% of the fare. You can end up waiting a few minutes while the driver in on their way to pick you up.  There are times where the driver my be dropping off a passenger near by so the wait may be a extra minute.  You are able to cancel the ride within the first 2 minutes for free,  after that you be charged the booking fee if you cancel.i

Some of the types of Uber service are: Uber Pool is the cheapest by sharing the ride with an other person that is going to the same direction you are.  The base rate and calculated rates are about have the rate of the next level up called UberX.  UberX is usually an economy or mid-sized car and usually can carry 3 people. You are the only riders during your fare. The next level up is UberXL, this is usually a Mid-sized SUV or a minivan. Thy offer more room and can carry up to 6 people generally. They do cost a bit more than an UberX, but generally not that much more.  If you want luxury, then UberBLack or UberSUV are the options for you.  The service can run 2-4 times more than an UberX, so just be mindful.

Just as a friendly reminder, these Uber drivers are using their own vehicles, so don’t drink or eat food in their vehicles.  Please be kind and remember to rate the driver in the app after the trip.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Mobile Home Tie-Down Straps!!!

For those living in Mobile Homes or manufactured homes, it's vitally important to check the tie-down straps every year!  Just think of these straps as seat belts for your home.

Oklahoma law requires that all manufactured homes have tie-downs. These tie-downs serve as a necessary part of a a mobile home's foundation system, without which the structure is extremely vulnerable to strong wind. 
The problem is that many mobile homeowners don't check tie-downs and anchors on a regular basis after an initial move-in inspection and they're hidden from view by skirting. If someone has been in a mobile home 10 years, the chances are great that the tie-downs are either rusted, or have been loosened due to the constaint Oklahoma wind. 
Consumers should check the condition of the straps, making sure they're tight and not corroded or rusted. They also should check the anchors that secure the home to the ground.  
The anchor should be driven completely into the ground so the head is just above the surface.  The straps should be taught and not have any play.  The straps should go 
Anchors should not be paved over or buried completely in dirt because the weight of the cement could cause straps to snap, and fertilizers used on gardens surrounding anchors could cause corrosion.
In large part, the safety of Oklahoma's mobile-home residents depends on getting the word out that tie-downs need to be tightenend regularly after years of wear and tear, they may even required to be replaced.  

Mobile home owners should call a mobile home moving company for inspection and possible replacement of the bricks, straps, or anchors.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Fort Sill's New Fitness Center

Fort Sill opens a new Fitness Center today! The Fires Fitness Center, offers hourly child care so you can bring your children while you work out. Children must be registered with CYSS to be eligible for child care. The center provides a huge weight room area with cardio equipment, an indoor track, racquetball courts, 3 basketball courts, volleyball courts and a climbing wall for adults and youth.

Commercial: (580)442-2445

RACH Gone, As We Know It

Fort Sill is losing a lot of services soon in just one building!  Reynolds Army Community Hospital will soon be transformed into Reynolds Army Health Clinic.  later this year, RACH will no longer offer in house surgeries, in-patient services, maternal child care and deliveries, These services will be outsourced to the greater TRICARE network.  This network includes Comanche County Memorial Hospital, Southwestern Medical Center, and Duncan Regional Hospital. The Urgent Care Clinic will also see limited hours, as they will be open from 0700-2300. The dining facility in RACH will also close down. 

All of these changes are expected to take place on or before 30 SEPT 2016.  These changes are mainly due to the draw down of the Army and sequestration.