*This article has been updated to reflect direction from Governor Gavin Newsom on streamlining unemployment claim processing for impacted federal workers.
On January 11 “payday” will come with no checks for about 800,000 federal employees affected by a partial government shutdown, according to the Associated Press. Nearly three weeks since the shutdown began, federal workers are struggling to feed their families and pay bills.
Several large companies and local resources have offered help to get workers through this time.
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The Yolo County Food Bank will start weekly food distribution at noon on Jan. 11 at the Yolo Food Bank warehouse at 1244 Fortna Avenue in Woodland. The distribution will take place every Friday from noon to 2 p.m. until the shutdown is resolved.
“Meats, produce, breads, cereals, dry and shelf-stable items will be available, and each employee may take up to 30 pounds of food,” the Food Bank said in a recent Facebook post.
Federal employees are asked to bring either their last pay stub or other proof of federal employment.
“We are working hard to help to help these employees and families during this unexpected time of financial crisis,” the Food Bank said. “Please contact us at 530-668-0690 for additional information.”
The Crocker Art Museum is offering free admission for furloughed federal employees through the shutdown.
Seaquest Aquarium in Folsom is also offering free admission for furloughed federal employees. The aquarium made the announcement on Jan. 2 and reiterated the offer in a Facebook post on Jan. 17. Government employees, along with their spouses and children will receive free admission through Jan. 31.
Verizon: "Impacted by the government shutdown? Verizon has your back," the company said in an online statement.
"Verizon is standing by to help with flexible payment options to keep your service running," the company said. "Our Promise to Pay program allows you to set a future date for payment quickly and easily."
Customers can set up a payment arrangement in the My Verizon app or in My Verizon on their smartphone, tablet or computer. For further assistance at 1-866-266-1445 or click here for instructions on how to participate.
T-Mobile: Flexible payment support options are now available for T-Mobile customers. Federal employees can work with agents to arrange "flexible payment options that allow customers to spread their service payments over time," the company said in a Jan. 5 statement. "Payment deferral is also an option."
For more information contact T-Mobile Customer Care (611 from a T-Mobile device or 1-877-746-0909 from any phone).
ATT: "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," ATT said in an online statement posted to their website.
This includes billing associated with cell service and DIRECTTV. Click here to start the process.
Sprint: "As with any Sprint customer who hits a rough patch, we want to help and will take a look at your account to see what we can do," said Michel Combes, Sprint CEO. "Our Care reps will coordinate with qualified customers and our financial team to find a payment option that works and keep your service uninterrupted during the government shutdown."
Click here to learn more and start the process.
Golden 1: On its website, the credit union writes, “We are here to help,” and links customers to a page outlining the assistance program.
The program offers short-term loans up to $5,000 and payment options on existing loans. You can apply online, contact Golden 1 at 1-800-442-2361 or visit your local branch.
Navy Federal Credit Union: The credit union is offering eligible members a zero percent APR loan to help cover pay during the shutdown. If you are a federal government employee or active duty service member of the Coast Guard AND you’ve set up direct deposit with Navy Federal, you may be eligible.
Once the shutdown is resolved and your pay resumes, the amount credited to your account, “will be automatically deducted as repayment” to Navy Federal. Learn more here.
Chase Bank: The bank posted a message on its website saying that it acknowledges that customers are concerned about paying mortgages, credit cards and car loans during the shutdown. A care line has been set up for customers who are interested in discussing their accounts. That number is, 1-888-356-0023.
“If you’re a federal employee whose paycheck was direct deposited into a Chase account in November 2018, we’re automatically waiving or refunding some fees on your Chase checking and savings accounts,” the online statement reads.
Wells Fargo: In an online statement the bank is urging customers to call 1-800-TO-WELLS to notify of the income disruption during the shutdown.
“Wells Fargo mortgage, loan and credit customers may qualify for forbearance or other payment assistance programs based on their individual circumstances,” the online statement reads.
For the phone numbers to direct assistance on Wells Fargo home mortgages, home equity, and other programs, click here.
*If your credit issuer is not on this list, contact them to see if they are offering assistance during the shutdown.
Unemployment benefits are another resource available to unpaid and furloughed federal workers. At the direction of Governor Gavin Newsom, the state's Employment Development Department will be streamlining claim processing for federal workers.
The department will provide benefits to the employees impacted by the government shutdown who are working, but not collecting a paycheck, and those who are furloughed.
“Federal government employees in California impacted by the shutdown who are out of work or not being paid through no fault of their own may be eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits,” the state Employment Development Department writes on its website.
As usual, each claim will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
If you are eligible, your weekly benefits will not start immediately. EDD issues most payments within 14 to 21 days after a claim is filed and approved. Weekly benefits will range from $40 to $450, depending on your earnings. They are available for up to 26 weeks.
While on unemployment, you will be required to submit certification every two weeks until you return to work full time.
Is there a catch to unemployment?
Employees who receive unemployment during the shutdown will be required to pay the department back if they are issued retroactive payments from employers for the same time period.
The EDD will mail you a notice of overpayment and “employees may repay the benefits by credit or debit card, by phone, online, or by mail, or set up a repayment plan to satisfy the overpayment.”
How do I apply for unemployment?
Fill out the application online or by phone at 1-800-300-5616. EDD established a number specifically for federal workers at 1-855-327-7056, operating Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. If you received an "SF 8" or "SF 50" from your employer, have that ready when you call in.
If you have an existing claim, log in online and reopen the claim by applying for benefits through UI online.
Still have questions about unemployment insurance? Click here to learn more.
*Author’s note: Are you a federal worker or contractor who’s being impacted by the shutdown? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to share your story.
WATCH MORE: In a recent episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live, Kimmel announced that he would hire federal employees during the shutdown. “Tonight and every night until the shutdown is over, we’re going to put a federal employee to work here at the show,” Kimmel said. When asked if he would be paid after the shutdown was resolved, Kimmel’s first guest simply replied, “We hope so.”