Federal workers are bracing for their second missed paycheck, with no end in sight to the partial government shutdown. Thousands are running up credit card debt and tapping into retirement accounts as their savings dip dangerously low or are completely exhausted. And mortgage and rent payments will be due February 1, increasing the angst for many federal workers who may not be able to pay.
According to Politico, the Consumer Bankers Association says calls have increased tenfold from the early weeks of the shutdown, with federal employees seeking relief from payments as the shutdown drags on.
Some creditors are stepping in to help, offering forbearance and waiving fees and offering no-interest loans. Verizon has set up a “Promise to Pay” program, which gives workers affected by the shutdown the ability to set a future date to pay their phone bill. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling has a national plan in place to help support workers seeking relief and many banks are working with individuals to waive fees and delay payments. But if the shutdown continues for much longer, it’s unclear how long these temporary plans will hold.
And for some, their creditors and landlords aren’t very forgiving and this shutdown could mean eviction.
If the shutdown lingers on, tenants in low-income housing provided via Housing and Urban Development contracts could be evicted.
Legislative efforts are afoot in Congress and in the Washington, D.C. Council to protect federal workers from evictions, foreclosures, cars repossessions, late fees, and cancelled insurance policies because of missed premiums. But so far, the stakes of this shutdown are high and growing by the day.