ORLANDO, Fla. — Federal workers are coming up on a second empty paycheck as the partial government shutdown continues. Although many, though not all, of the workers will eventually get back pay, for now, they're draining savings and trying to keep creditors at bay.
If you're a federal worker trying to survive the shutdown, here's where you can find assistance.
Be sure to visit the U.S. Office of Personnel Management website to find resources to help with payments to banks and other companies, including documents and letters you will need.
If you have a business or group helping federal workers, send us an email at email@example.com, and we'll add it here.
United Way’s 211 Crisis Line is open 24/7 and can help connect people with services ranging from utility assistance and eviction prevention to finding food pantries and other services. You can reach a specialist by dialing 211 or texting your zip code to 898-211.
The 211 website also has a list of phone companies and banks offering help for workers.
In Central Florida, the Heart of Florida United Way chapter has a resources page for people who need help.
The Legion will help Coast Guardsman with families who will not be getting paid starting this week. Head to the Legion website to find out how to apply for funds through the Temporary Financial Assistance Program.
The American Legion’s Project: VetRelief will help provide financial assistance for single Coast Guardsman without children who live in Florida. Membership in the legion is not required, just be active-duty military or a veteran. An application can be found on the Project: VetRelief website.
Second Harvest Food Bank
Second Harvest has a page dedicated to the shutdown on its website. It includes a food finder tool to find local food pantries, and a community resources page for other types of assistance.
It also has information on SNAP benefits and other government nutrition programs, who were told that they should begin looking for ways to stretch those benefits as the shutdown lingers on. SNAP reportedly has funding through February.
Local Utility Companies
Several utility companies are offering payment extension or assistance programs. We'll add more to this list as we get them.
Duke Energy has partnered with local agencies for payment assistance programs. You can find more information on the Duke Energy website. Customers can also request payment deferments by calling the customer service line at 1-800-700-8744, Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Florida Power and Light has a payment extension program for its customers. Head to the FPL website to request an extension.
Orlando Utilities Commission customers are eligible for payment extensions, late fees waivers, and referrals for utility assistance programs. To make the arrangement, Orlando/Orange County residents should call 407-423-9018. St. Cloud/Osceola County residents should call 407-957-7373.
Banks and Credit Unions
Most banks and credit unions are offering loans or other kinds of help to federal employees. They include:
- Bank of America
- Capital One
- Chase Bank
- Fairwinds Credit Union
- Fifth Third Bank
- Launch Federal Credit Union
- Navy Federal Credit Union
- Wells Fargo
Health Care Assistance
Pharmaceutical company Lilly has a program for anyone that needs help paying for insulin. Find more information on the Lilly website.
Rocco's Tacos and Tequila Bar: Any furloughed government employee with proper identification can get a one-time $20 credit. The deal is good through the end of the shutdown. More details are on the Rocco's Tacos Facebook page. There are Rocco's Tacos locations on Sand Lake Road in Orlando, and on Westshore Boulevard in Tampa.
Rock & Brews: The rock-inspired restaurant founded by KISS musicians Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley is offering a free pulled pork sandwich or strawberry fields salad to TSA workers with proper ID, now until the workers are paid again. There are three Rock & Brews locations in Central Florida: Kissimmee, Orlando, and Oviedo.
Madame Tussauds and Sea Life Orlando Aquarium: Free admission offered to federal workers affected by the shutdown. Workers must show a valid ID to receive one free ticket.
Tortuga Pools: The pool care company in Brevard County is offering free pool care to unpaid government employees. Call 321-405-9360 for more info.
Central Florida Zoo: The zoo in Sanford is offering free single-day admission to federal employees impacted by the shutdown plus up to three guests. The offer also includes contractors who work within the federal government. Guests must show a valid ID badge or ID and must be redeemed in person.
G.I. Tax Service and Marco's Pizza: G.I. Tax Service in Melbourne is partnering with Marco's Pizza to offer $1 one-topping medium pizzas for furloughed and government workers. To get the pizza, visit one of the two G.I. Tax locations to pick up a card, good for the pizza at one of two Marco's Pizza locations.
- 3600 N. Wickham Rd. Ste. 106, Melbourne
- 2539 W. New Haven Ave., West Melbourne
- 3600 N. Wickham Rd., Ste. 107, Melbourne
- 4320 S. Babcock St., Melbourne
Sorelli Hair Studio and Spa, Melbourne: The salon is offering free haircuts and half price color retouch services for people furloughed and their immediate families.
IKEA Orlando: Starting January 24, IKEA Orlando is offering free breakfasts to federal workers who have a valid government ID. The offer includes an assortment of breakfast items and a drink and is available Monday-Friday, 9:30-11 a.m. or until the partial government shutdown is over.
Your Kid's Urgent Care: Families of furloughed workers affected by the government shutdown can visit any Your Kid's Urgent Care locations in the Orlando and Tampa Bay areas for free. Services will be offered to immediate family members of federal workers who are under 21 years old. Co-pays won't be collected and your insurance won't be billed. Bring valid ID.
Conti Moore Law: Conti Moore Law is offering free legal services (family law) to any furloughed federal employees.
Free dog and cat food: The Brevard Humane Society is offering free dog and cat food for federal employees and government contractors either working without pay or not working during the shutdown. Email the humane society at firstname.lastname@example.org. You'll get a reply with a pickup day at the Cocoa Adoption Center at 1020 Cox Road. A valid government ID must be presented. Free draft beer for donations: If you would like to donate unopened and unexpired dog or cat food, bring it to Dog N’ Bone British Pub at 9 Stone Street in Historic Cocoa Village, which is issuing vouchers for 1 free draft person to those who donate.
Orlando Philarmonic offering free tickets to furloughed federal workers.
Garage Door and Spring Repair LLC: Orlando-area garage door repair company is offering to fix the garage doors of those affected by the government shutdown free of charge. Call 407-969-8795.
Unique Barbershop: Free haircuts for federal workers and their families. Must present valid government ID. Just head to their shop at 4441B Old Winter Garden Road, Orlando, 32811.