This page contains resources for federal government employees who reside in Pennsylvania and are impacted by the partial federal government shutdown that began in December 2018. If you have questions about what the Federal Shutdown means, please see Government Shutdown FAQs.
To receive updates as new resources are added to this site, please text FEDSD to 898-211
If you are experiencing immediate difficulty paying for basic needs such as food, utilities, or housing, please dial 2-1-1 or text your zip code to 898-211.
If you are interested in giving to the United Way to support federal employees during this time, please visit the United for U.S. Fund.
- Central Pennsylvania Food Bank Federal Shutdown Food Assistance Services
- Services begin January 15th at the Harrisburg Hub and the Williamsport Hub. Other service sites closer to employee worksites are being mobilized. Instructions available at (717) 547-6336.
- Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank
- Government workers affected by the shutdown can receive an emergency box with staples such as pasta, condensed milk, peanut butter, beans, fresh vegetables, and fresh fruits as well as personal hygeine supplies. To pick up a box, you can go to one of the food bank locations during their regular hours. To find a location near you, visit the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank Website or call 412-460-3663.
- On Thursday, January 24th from 5:30pm to 7:00pm there will be a special distribution for federal employees at the location in Duquesne, PA.
- Community Services of Venango County
- The Community Services of Venango County Food Pantries are available to both federal employees affected by the shutdown and any individual or family whose SNAP benefits have been affected in Venango county. For more information, call 814-676-5011 or 814-432-5749.
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) notified PA's Department of Human Services (DHS) that February SNAP benefits will be fully funded. However, the February benefits need to be paid on January 18th. This is the only payment SNAP recipients will receive for the month of February. They will not receive a payment on their regularly scheduled February payment date. SNAP recipients will have to make the early payment last through an undefined period if the shutdown persists. DHS is awaiting further guidance regarding the availability of benefits in March. DHS will continue to take SNAP applications and process renewal applications. DHS will continue to issue benefits to all applicants found eligible in February until they are told to stop issuing benefits by the USDA. All county offices are open and staff are available to assist applicants and SNAP recipients during this time. If you have questions, please contact the statewide customer service center at 1-877-395-8930. If you live in Philadelphia, please call 215-560-7226. At this time, other DHS programs such as LIHEAP, Cash Assistance, and Medical Assistance are unaffected. You may not be eligible for SNAP benefits if you are currently receiving unemployment benefits. Please contact DHS if you have specific questions regarding your situation. Other food assistance programs, such as food banks, may be able to assist you if you are ineligible for SNAP.
- Find a Local Food Bank
- Food banks across Pennsylvania are aware of the needs of individuals and families affected by the government shutdown. If you require assistance finding a local food bank, you can use the Food Bank Map tool.
- Hudson Group
- TSA and Customs employees can go to their airport's Hudson Group store for 20% food, beverages, and core store products when they present their TSA or Trans border ID.
- Philabundance is hosting an emergency market for government employees affected by the shutdown. Please bring your government ID. The market is located under the 95 overpass on Front and Tasker Street in Philadelphia, PA 19147. It will occure from 10AM-11AM on Wednesdays until reimbursement checks are issued to federal employees. Please bring your own bags or boxes. For questions or concerns about inclement weather, call 215-220-1920.
- MontCo Anti-Hunger Network
- This coalition of partners serves households across Montgomery county who require food assistance. For more information, please visit their Website which lists local food pantries and soup kitchens in the Norristown area, along with their hours of operation. You can also see this flyer for Norristown Soup Kitchens or the flyer for the Food Pantries.
- The Pennsylvania WIC Program
- The PA WIC Program is open during the federal shutdown and is taking applications for assistance. Pregant women, women who have given birth, and children five years of age and younger may be eligible for benefits. For more information, please contact your local WIC Office.
- Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest PA
- Food pantries and food banks in Northwest PA are dedicated to helping employees who are furloughed or working without pay. You can use their Agency Locator to find an organization in Northwest PA near you.
Utilility Assistance Resources
- Customer Assistance Programs
- Some utility companies across Pennsylvania have been in contact with PA 2-1-1 regarding assisting employees affected by the federal shutdown. In general, utility companies ask that customers contact them if they are having difficulty paying their bill on time. PA 2-1-1 is advising customers who are affected to contact their utility company and inform them of their situation if they are unable to pay their utility bill as planned. You can ask about Customer Assistance Programs offered by your utility company.
- Wells Fargo
- Wells Fargo has stated they will help customers who are experiencing hardship as a result of the government shutdown. This includes waiving fees for those who receive direct deposit from the federal government or at the customer's request. They will also work with customers who require extra time to make payments. Call 1-800-TO-WELLS or the number on your debit or credit card or your statement. You can also visit your local branch.
- Bank of America
- Bank of America is asking customers who are impacted by the shutdown to take advantage of their Client Assistance Program to receive individualized financial assistance tailored to their specific situation and financial needs. You can call 844-219-0690 or Schedule an Appointment
- Customers who are impacted and need assistance are asked to call 1-800-837-2265
- PNC encourages impacted customers to contact them so PNC can work with them based on their unique situation and needs. PNC is prepared to waive monthly fees and take other appropriate actions for government employees. Please contact 1-888-762-2265.
- Quicken Loans
- Quicken Loans is waiving all late fees for clients who may miss a mortgage payment due to the shutdown. For help call 800-508-0944 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- US Employees Credit Union (USECU)
- USECU is offering interest free short-term loans to nearly all members who have direct deposit of their government pay. They are also offering ways to skip a payment due on USECU loans.
- Chase will automatically waive or refund overdraft and monthly service fees on Chase checking and savings accounts if an employee's salary from an affected government agency was direct deposited into the account in November 2018. They encourage customers to call to discuss harship programs at 1-888-356-0023 if they are affected by the shutdown.
- U.S. Bank
- Qualified federal employees can apply for a low-rate, quick loan if they are already U.S. Bank customers. The loan can be for up to $6,000 and customers are encouraged to contact their federal shutdown line at 877-760-6046 about this program and other assistance options such as mortgage relief.
- Congressional Federal Credit Union
- Congressional Federal Credit Union is offering many relief programs to defer payments or to take out a low interest line of credit for members. For more information, contact 800-491-2328 or visit a local branch.
- Democracy Federal Credit Union
- Democracy Federal Credit Union is offering payment deferment, loan extensions, and short-term loans for up to six months at low interest rates to their members. Members can call 800-742-5582 or email Member Services.
- FedChoice Federal Credit Union
- Federal employees who are not already FedChoice members can join now with the $5.00 deposit covered by FedChoice. Members can take advantage of waived withdrawl penalties, furlough loans, and flexible payment options. Call 301-699-6151 for more information.
- First Command Financial Services
- Members of First Command Financial Services are eligible for interest-free payroll advances and other assistance such as fee waivers and payment deferments. Contact 1-888-763-7600 to explore your options.
- Launch Federal Credit Union
- Members of Launch FCU can take advantage of interest-free short term loans of up to $3,000. You can apply at any local Launch FCU branch.
- Meriwest Credit Union
- Members of Meriwest Credit Union can take advantage of skipping a payment, waivers of fees, and short-term emergency loans of up to $5,000. Please call 877-637-4937 or visit your local branch.
- Navy Federal Credit Union
- Members of Navy Federal are eligible for payroll advances. You can register for the program online or by phone at 1-888-842-6328. You can also visit your local branch.
- Riverview Bank
- Riverview Bank is offering short-term relief loans for federal employees affected by the shutdown. For details, please their Online Flyer or call 1-888-765-7551.
- M&T Bank
- Customers affected by the government shutdown are encouraged to contact M&T Bank to form a plan to overcome the temporary loss of income. Please call 1-800-724-2440 or visit your local branch.
- Impacted federal workers who are Discover Card members or have a loan with Discover Bank may be eligible for assistance such as skipping a payment or having late fees and interest charges reversed. Call 1-800-347-2683.
- Ally Financial
- Ally has expanded its assistance program for customers affected by the shutdown. The company may be able to refund fees, waive fees, and create payment extensions. Call 877-247-2559 or chat with someone through Ally's Customer Chat.
- Better Mortgage
- Better Mortgage has launched a mortgage refinance program that allows employees to tap into their home equity for living expenses and delays loan payments until 30 days after the end of their furlough. Visit Better Mortgage's Shutdown Relief Page.
- Marcus by Goldman Sachs
- Federal employees impacted by the shutdown can take advantage of assistance programs for Marcus customers, such as payment deferral and fee waivers. Call 1-844-627-2876.
- PayPal is offering an interest free cash advance of up to $500 to existing or new PayPal credit customers who are U.S. federal government employees impacted by the shutdown. Call 1-877-689-1975 if you are existing customer or Apply for a PayPal Credit Account, then call once you have been approved.
- Fifth Third Bank
- Customers are encouraged to contact customer service. They will look at different types of solutions for your situation. Please call 866-601-6391.
- The Dime Bank
- Offering low interest short-term loans for federal employees. Visit your local branch for more information.
- Pennsylvania Office of Unemployment Compensation
- Federal employees that are not reporting and will not be paid by their federal employers may be eligible for unemployment compensation. Federal employees that are required to report to work but will not be paid for services performed after December 21st, 2018 are not eligible for unemployment compensation. You can file a claim online.
Assistance Paying Bills
- American Rescue Workers - Williamsport
- Thanks to program partners, such as the Lycoming County United Way, funds are available to federal employees needing extra help during the shutdown in the Williamsport area. Please contact Gary, the Social Services Center Director, for assistance at 337 Bridge Street, Williamsport from 9am-3pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. If you have questions, call 570-323-8401 x112 or x121.
- The Office of Personnel Management (OPM)
- OPM has provided Sample Letter Templates that federal employees can use to send to creditors, mortgage companies, and landlords. They recommend these be sent after speaking to a representative at the company.
- Federal Employee Education and Assistance (FEEA) Fund and National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE)
- The FEEA-NARFE Fund is offering $100 grants to active federal employees who are members of NARFE. To apply, please fill out the FEEA Form. You must be a NARFE member in good standing to be eligible.
Healthcare and Insurance Resources
- BlueCross BlueShield Federal Employee Program (BCBS FEP)
- This is a prescription drug discount program that is accepted at pharmacies nationwide. You can use their online tool to see the price of the prescription with the discount card.
- Eli Lilly
- Customers who are struggling to afford insulin supplies for diabetes management can call the Lilly Diabetes solution center at 1-833-808-1234 or visit the Patient Resources Webpage for information about patient medical assistance programs.
- Nationwide Insurance
- Nationwide Insurance is providing grace periods, extending due dates, and waiving certain fees for some of their insurance products. Customers should contact Nationwide through their normal customer service lines: 1-877-669-6877.
- HealthWarehouse.com is an online pharmacy that is offering furloughed federal government employees up to 50% off on prescription drugs. Call 1-800-748-7001 to talk to a licensed pharmacy technician.
- Freedom Mortgage
- Customers who are no longer receiving government paychecks can discuss their options with a team of customer representatives that will help them avoid defaulting on a mortgage. Customers can visit FreedomMortgage.com or call 855-690-5900.
- National Rental Home Council
- Certain member companies of the National Rental Home Council (NRHC) are ofering deferred rent payment options and waiving late fees for resident impacted by the shutdown. To learn which companies are involved, please visit the NRHC Webpage.
- Sprint is prepared to work with federal government employees seeking short-term payment solutions. Customers can call 888-211-4727 or go to sprint.com to talk to a Sprint Customer Care representative.
- T-Mobile Customer Care Representatives on solutions tailed to meet their needs, including flexible payment options that allow customers to spread their service payments over time or defer their payment. You can dial 611 from a T-Mobile device or 1-877-746-0909.
- Verizon customers can defer payment using the MyVerizon or MyFios app or by calling 1-866-266-1445 or 1-800-VERIZON and asking for the "Promise to Pay" feature.
- Comcast is asking federal employees affected by the shutdown to call 800-934-6489 to find a payment solution that works for them.
Resources for Pets
- Animal Friends
- Located in Pittsburgh and available to people in the Pittsburgh area. Animal Friends runs "Chow Wagon Pet Food Bank." This resource is being made available to federal employees unable to feed their pets during the shutdown. If you need assistance, please contact them between 10am-3pm Monday through Friday at 412-847-7023.
Help Finding Local Resources
- Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Central Labor Councils
- Regional Labor Council presidents may be able to provide additional information about local resources in your area.
- Longwood Gardens
- Longwood Gardens in Philadelphia is offering furloughed federal workers and up to three guests free admission throughout the remainder of the shutdown. Federal workers must show valid government ID to redeem the offer.