Federal Government Shutdown Resources

As the federal government shutdown continues and many federal employees are suffering from missed paychecks, Washington state is standing by to assist furloughed employees and those who remain on the job but are not being paid. The state is also working to assist those who may have their federal assistance benefits impacted by the shutdown. The shutdown profoundly impacts individuals, businesses and agencies across Washington.

“Thousands of federal workers in our state are being unfairly harmed by this government shutdown,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “Coast Guard members help protect our seas, air traffic controllers help protect our skies, and national forest firefighters help protect our land. We are ready to help those who have been forced to forego their paychecks.”

Nearly 13,000 federal employees in Washington state work for agencies affected by the shutdown. The state is assisting furloughed employees by providing access to unemployment benefits while they wait to return to their jobs. 

On January 24, Inslee and Employment Security Department Commissioner (ESD) Suzi Levine met with bankers, utilities, telecoms, healthcare providers and other businesses who have committed to step up and help. Tacoma Public Utilities is offering payment flexibility to affected federal workers. Hospitals like CHI Franciscan, Swedish and Providence are giving grace periods on co-pays and deductibles for furloughed federal employees. Providence St. Joseph Health is also offering a grace period to pay out-of-pocket medical costs, suspending collection activities on outstanding balances and encouraging their employees to volunteer for service activities to help meet immediate needs for affected families. Alaska Airlines donated $25,000 this week to Northwest Harvest for the “All in this Together” campaign. Companies like T-Mobile and Kaiser Permanente are also providing flexible payment relief to customers impacted by the shutdown.

Unemployment benefits

Washington State Employment Security Department  has put together a webpage to help furloughed federal workers understand if they qualify for unemployment benefits and how to go about applying. Furloughed federal employees may apply for benefits online or by phone at 800-318-6022 using the last digit of their social security number.

At Inslee's direction, ESD has implemented emergency rulemaking to extend unemployment benefits to "essential" federal workers who have been directed to work either part-time or full-time without pay during the partial shutdown. This includes TSA agents, Coast Guard personnel, border patrol agents, food safety inspectors, FBI agents and many others.

Financial resources

Washington State Department of Financial Institutions has developed a list of financial resources for federal workers impacted by the government shutdown.

These include:

The Federal Trade Commission has useful information on its website for dealing with debt.

The U.S. Department of Education has additional information on options for repaying, postponing, or deferring student loan payments for furloughed federal employees. The partial shutdown does not affect your obligation to make timely student loan payments.

Veteran, dependent and survivor resources

Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs has resources available to help veterans and their dependents that are also federal employees impacted by the shutdown. These include assistance with compensation and pensions, education benefits, home loans and other issues.

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program

Washington State Department of Health has information on WIC benefits and how to get a hold of a local WIC office for questions. During the federal government shutdown, both the state WIC Office and local WIC clinics will remain open through March. WIC checks can still be used at any authorized grocery store.

Food, disability, worker training and economic assistance resources

The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services Economic Services Administration is operating with limited services and has set up a webpage with updates on operation. Due to the federal government shutdown, some computer systems will be down in order to issue February food benefits early. There are no anticipated impacts to cash benefits or services through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), State Family Assistance (SFA), the Aged, Blind or Disabled Program (ABD) or Workforce training programs funded through Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

Fake job postings and scams

Washington Secretary of State provides information on Washington corporations and business entities, and out-of-state entities registered with the Secretary of State. If you are looking for temporary work during the shutdown, beware of fake job postings or work-from-home offers that require application fees or other costs.

Consumers who wish to make a complaint about a business operating in Washington state may do so to the Washington State Attorney General's Office.

Sea-Tac Airport and Seattle waterfront employees

Port of Seattle has compiled this list of resources to support federal employees that work with SeaTac Airport and Seattle’s waterfront ports.

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