Businesses offering freebies, specials assistance to furloughed employees

    Businesses offering freebies, specials assistance to furloughed employees (Source: MGN Online)<p>{/p}

    With the current government shutdown on its way to becoming the longest ever, many business and companies are offering some relief to federal employees who have been furloughed.

    Companies and business are offering free meals, discounts to deferring payments and zero-interest loans, according to USA Today.

    About 800,000 federal employees have been furloughed or working without pay since Dec. 21.

    Friday is the first payday that most furloughed employees were supposed to get paid.

    Below are the business helping out:

    Assistance programs:

    - Bank of America: It's offering personal finance assistance and can be reached at 844-219-0690.

    - Chase:The bank announced its efforts to help its customers who are U.S. government employees on Dec. 22 and is encouraging customers to call a special care line at 888-356-0023 to discuss available hardship programs. The help also is available for customers who do business with a federal agency that is also affected, Chase said in a statement.

    - Congressional Federal Credit Union: Furloughed employees and those working without pay can apply for the Relief Line of Credit with an interest-free rate over 60 days.

    - FedChoice: The Federal Credit Union has several options listed in its Furlough Center at

    - Navy Federal Credit Union: Affected union members who have direct deposit of their government pay may be eligible for interest-free loans. Government contractors may be eligible if their direct deposit is received directly from the federal government and will be affected by a government shutdown.

    -U.S. Employees Credit Union: Affected union members who have direct deposit of their government pay may be eligible for interest-free loans. According to its website, the Government Shutdown Loan is to be “repaid in 60 days or when the government processes back pay, whichever is sooner.”

    -Wells Fargo: The bank says it "will work with individuals and business banking customers whose income is disrupted as a result of the shutdown." Customers should call 1-800-TO-WELLS, or the number on their credit card, debit card or statement for assistance, or visit any Wells Fargo branch. Mortgage, loan, and credit customers may qualify for forbearance or other payment assistance programs based on their individual circumstances, the company posted on its website.

    -Unemployment benefits: According to a U.S. Office of Personnel Management fact sheet, federal employees may be eligible for Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees, which is administered by state unemployment insurance agencies. The fact sheet says, "The law of the state in which an individual’s official duty station in Federal civilian service is located will be the state law under which an individual’s eligibility for benefits is determined."

    Wireless providers:

    -AT&T: Customers affected by the shutdown are eligible for flexible payment options to keep service -- including cellphones, television and internet -- running. Make payment arrangements online at

    -Sprint: "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," Sprint said in a statement. ;Affected customers should call 888-211-4727 or do an online chat at

    -T-Mobile: Short-term account assistance can be tailored to meet the needs of customers who are federal workers, T-Mobile said, noting options include payment deferral and "flexible payment options that allow customers to spread their service payments over time." The company is also offering support to government account customers. Customers can call T-Mobile Customer Care to discuss options at 611 from a T-Mobile device or 877-746-0909 from any phone.

    -Verizon: The company announced flexible payment options and a Promise to Pay program that can be set up in the My Verizon app or website. Further assistance is available by calling 866-266-1445.

    Rosetta Stone

    Rosetta Stone is offering a free three-month online subscription to furloughed government workers. Email your name and validation information to Learn more here.

    Local El Paso business:

    YMCA: The YMCA of El Paso is offering employees who are furloughed, or working and not getting paid due to the government shutdown, a place to work out for free with their family.

    Poke3: Poke3 is offering a free meal to all furloughed federal employees this weekend.

    Taco Cabana: The restaurant is offering federal employees affected by the government shutdown a 20 percent off its entire menu beginning on Jan. 17 Employees need to show a valid federal identification. The discount will continue through the period of the shutdown.

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