No-interest financing and more for federal employees during the government shutdown.
Where to find a loan during the government shutdown
Credit unions and banks offer assistance programs designed to help federal employees make it through the government shutdown. If you already have a loan you might know some government loan programs have completely stopped during the shutdown, while others are just experiencing delays. If you already have a loan, your repayments likely won’t be affected.
Federal credit unions
Many federal credit unions are extending no- or low-interest loans for furloughed employees affected by the government shutdown.
You must join the credit union to be eligible for a loan. Many allow you to open a savings account online with a minimum $5 balance. You might need to meet other requirements, such as living or working in a specific area or joining a particular organization.
Federal credit union loans for furloughed employees
|Credit union||Maximum loan||Term||APR||Eligibility requirements||Other assistance programs||Customer support|
|ABNB Federal Credit Union||Your last direct deposit amount||2 months or whenever the government processes back pay — whichever is sooner||0%||Skip a payment on your current loan||757-523-5300|
|AgFed Credit Union||$30,000||Up to 5 years — with payment deferred up to 45 days||Starting at 6.49%||Skip a payment on your current loan||800-368-3552|
|Congressional Federal Credit Union||Varies for Relief Line of Credit||3 years||0% during the 60-day draw period, then 4% on the remaining balance||Member of Congressional FCU affected by the shutdown||800-491-2328|
|Democracy Federal Credit Union||Varies||6 months||Starting at 0%||800-742-5582|
|Hanscom Federal Credit Union||$5,000||14 months||0% for the first 60 days, then 8.49%||Member of Hanscom FCU affected by the shutdown||800-656-4328|
|Justice Federal Credit Union||$3,000||2 years — with payment deferred for 3 months||Starting at 3.19%||800-550-5328|
|Lafayette Federal Credit Union||$35,000||3 years||Varies||None||800-888-6560|
|Launch Federal Credit Union||$3,000||1 year||0%||None||800-662-5257|
|Navy Federal Credit Union||$6,000||Automatically deducted from your account when the government processes back pay||0%||None||888-842-6328|
|Space Coast Credit Union||1 month of net pay verified by your direct deposit history||1 year||0%||Withdraw up to $10,000 on your CD without an early withdrawal fee||800-447-7228|
|Transportation Federal Credit Union||$3,000||Up to 18 months||4.5%||800-368-8432|
|US Employees Credit Union||Your last biweekly direct deposit rounded down to the nearest $100||2 months or whenever the government processes back pay — whichever is sooner||0%||312-922-5310|
Some local and larger banks have set up assistance programs for furloughed employees. In addition to loans, many banks offer forbearance on existing mortgages, personal loans and credit cards. You might also find reversed overdraft fees, reduced or waived penalties for withdrawing from a CD early and other benefits.
Not all banks advertise these assistance programs, so you might want to call customer service to learn the options available to you.
Banks that offer assistance for furloughed employees
|Bank||Assistance offered||Customer support line|
|Bank of America||Fee refunds, waivers, repayment plans and loan modifications for current customers||844-219-0690|
|First Command Financial Services||888-763-7600|
|USAA||Low-interest personal loans and other assistance to members of the Coast Guard affected by the shutdown.||800-531-8722|
While most online lenders don’t offer loans specifically for furloughed employees, you might qualify for a loan. These lenders tend to be less strict than banks about credit requirements and can get you funds in as little as one business day. You also might be able borrow more than what banks or federal credit unions are offering furloughed employees.
You must have good credit to get a competitive rate, however. If you’re concerned about qualifying because of your furloughed status, call customer service to explain your situation — they might be willing to work out a loan that fits your situation. Some lenders like Marcus by Goldman Sachs are offering deferment for furloughed customers with current loans.
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TSP loans for employees on furlough
The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) agency allows federal employees on furlough to withdraw from their TSP accounts without penalty if they believe they’ll be on furlough for less than 30 days.
But since this shutdown inching toward a month with no end in sight, a TSP loan might not be the best option. That’s because TSP automatically deducts repayments from your pay check 60 days after issuing the loan — even if you’re still furloughed. There’s a chance you could end up defaulting on your loan.
Are federal contractors eligible for assistance?
Not always — especially if you’re applying for a loan. Some require you to be a full-time federal employee. Others might offer assistance to federal employees in a specific department. Check with your lender to make sure you’re eligible before you apply for any kind of assistance.
5 steps to protect your finances during the shutdown
Make sure your credit score and other personal finances stay relatively unaffected by the government shutdown with a few helpful tips.
- Contact your creditors. While your provider might already know you’re a federal employee, it’s worth reaching out to explain your situation and learn about your options. A creditor might be willing to offer assistance even if they don’t advertise an assistance program.
- Talk to your landlord and utilities providers. You might learn they’re willing to accept a reduced or late payment in light of your situation. And the sooner you let them know, the better.
- File for unemployment. You might be eligible for unemployment benefits while you’re on a temporary leave of absence — which means you might not need that loan after all.
- Assess your budget. Knowing where you can cut back and where you need assistance can help you figure out the types of help or financing to focus on — if you need it at all.
- Consider a budgeting app. Apps can help you easily keep track of your spending so you don’t accidentally go over your furlough budget.
How long will the government shutdown last?
It’s hard to know. The previous government shutdown in 2013 lasted 16 days, but the current shutdown is already longer. The shutdown will end after Congress approves this year’s budget and President Trump signs it into law.
Many lenders understand that the government shutdown isn’t the fault of those hurt by it most. Look to federal credit unions and online lenders for loans, and contact your banks to learn about assistance programs that might apply to your situation.
Read our guide to personal loans to learn about other borrowing options available.