Assistance available to employees affected by shutdown

HOUSTON (FOX 26) — As the partial federal government shutdown reached a record-tying 21st day, most of the 800,000 furloughed federal employees missed their first paycheck during the stalemate.

There are efforts to help some of them make ends meet until the government gets back to business.

At the Johnson Space Center, most of the facility's 3,000 employees find themselves out of work.

As happened with previous furloughs and natural disasters, such as Hurricane Harvey in 2017, the JSC Federal Credit Union is working to offer immediate cash to out-of-work members.

"We're offering furlough loans for the amount of their paychecks," says Thomas Hast with the JSC Federal Credit Union. "We're also skipping the loan payments, so that they can maintain their finances while this is going on."

Other resources are also available.

Bank of America, Chase and Wells Fargo are each offering assistance and hardship programs for affected federal employees.

As with Johnson Space Center, many other federal credit unions are also offering interest-free loans to furloughed workers.

The shutdown offers a stark reminder of how many people don't have savings to weather an emergency and live paycheck to paycheck. A 2018 survey pins that number at 49 percent of all Americans.

Danny Ratliff with Clarity Financial urges people facing tight budgets because of the shutdown to reach out to creditors and establish a payment plan.

"You may be surprised how often they'll do a payment plan and say, 'We'll move it back a little bit, until you get that paycheck'," says Ratliff. "I would suspect that'll happen very easily."

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