Banks, wireless companies, restaurants, museums, and even a symphony orchestra have lined up to provide furloughed federal government workers with freebies and special offers amidst the ongoing partial government shutdown.
According to USA Today, most furloughed workers’ first missed payday was January 11.
Some of America’s largest financial institutions have set up hotlines to offer assistance to furloughed workers:
Bank of America established a priority hotline for clients “facing any difficulties” related to the partial government shutdown.
Chase Bank has a “special care line” for clients experiencing “hardship” via the partial government shutdown, specifically mentioning federal government employees and those that “do business with” federal agencies. Special offers include the waiving of overdraft and monthly service fees.
Congressional Federal Credit Union is offering “furlough relief loans” and other “relief programs” to those “affected by the government shutdown.” Freebies include interest-free lines of credit, credit limit increases, loan and credit payment deferrals, waiver of certificate withdrawal penalties, and financial coaching.
Fed Choice is waiving withdrawal penalties and loan and credit payment deferrals to federal employees (active and retired) and contractors missing payments due to the partial government shutdown.
Interior Federal Credit Union is offering a “shutdown line of credit” of up to $15,000 without interest for 30 days, waiving of credit card and loan payments, lowering of interest rates to 0% on existing lines of credit, and waiving fees on withdrawals.
Navy Federal Credit Union is helping federal employees and contractors with a “shutdown loan program,” which offers eligible customers an interest-free loan of up to $6,000.
U.S. Employees Credit Union is extending interest-free “government shutdown loans” to furloughed federal government workers and the waiving of penalties for “early withdrawals from USECU Share Certificates.”
Sun Trust has “programs in place to help clients facing financial difficulty as a result of this shutdown,” inviting clients to call its customer service lines to “work … on a solution that fits [their] family’s needs.”
Wells Fargo is offering payment deferrals and waivers for its loan and credit services to “individuals and business banking customers whose income is disrupted as a result of the shutdown.”
The nation’s largest telecommunications and wireless companies publicly declared their intentions to assist furloughed workers via special programs:
AT&T offers “flexible payment options” to customers “affected by the shutdown”:
Just because the government shut down, doesn’t mean that your phone, TV, and internet should stop working too.
We’re here to help ease the burden of trying to pay bills on time during the shutdown. As long as the shutdown is in effect, our customer service team will adjust late fees, provide extensions, and coordinate with you on revised payment schedules.
Sprint extends “short-term payment solutions” to “customers impact by the federal government shutdown.”
T-Mobile gives “short-term account assistance” including payment deferrals to federal government employees and government account customers.
Verizon proclaims it “has your back” and is “here for you” if you are government employee “impacted by the government shutdown” by extending “flexible payment options” to such customers.
The National Rental Home Council, which represents many of the nation’s largest operators of single-family rental homes, is offering deferrals for rent payment and is waiving late fees.
The Office of Personnel Management composed letter templates for federal government employees to send to landlords, creditors, and lenders.
Assorted D.C.-based businesses — from restaurants to exercise studios to movie theaters — are offering freebies to furloughed federal government workers.
British Beer Company is offering free meals — up to a $50 value and excluding alcohol — to customers providing a government ID.
The Washingtonian reported on José Andrés opening of an “emergency kitchen” in D.C. to feed federal employees and their families:
Celebrity chef turned humanitarian José Andrés has issued a new call to action during the government shutdown and will open a World Central Kitchen feeding site on Pennsylvania Avenue to provide food to furloughed government workers and their families. The operation is in the spirit of service stations set up in areas hit by natural disasters, including Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria and in Houston to help flood victims. In both instances, Andrés and his team fed thousands.
Big news! We will open a kitchen on Pennsylvania Ave this week to join private sector effort to feed federal employees during the shutdown. It’s only fair to feed Americans in need! #ChefsForFeds 👨🍳👩🍳 Follow @WCKitchen for more details! pic.twitter.com/PRBtlaNug6
— José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) January 14, 2019
EATER published a list of restaurants and bars offering freebies and discounts to federal employees. Offers include free coffees, ten to 25 percent menu-wide discounts, free fried chicken sandwiches, alcohol discounts, and baking classes.
Washington’s Top News (WTOP) reported that CYCLED, Sweat DC, and Zengo Cycle are all offering discounts, ranging from free two-week passes to free shoe rentals, for their exercise classes.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is offering free film viewings to federal employees across January.
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is offering free tickets to federal government employees for some of its performances.
The Washington Post reported on freebies from D.C.-based museums for federal workers:
Phillips Collection, National Building Museum, the Newseum, President Lincoln’s Cottage and the Woodrow Wilson House, are offering free admission to any furloughed federal employee who shows a government ID.
Museums in Philadelphia — including the Museum of the American Revolution, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Franklin Institute, the Please Touch Museum, the Independence Seaport Museum, and Eastern State Penitentiary — are offering free admissions to furloughed federal government employees.
Rosetta Stone is offering complimentary three-month subscriptions to its language learning programs to furloughed federal government employees. It says it “sympathizes with federal employees impacted by the shutdown.”
Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter.