Financial advice for federal workers going without pay


    A handful of federal employees rallied in front of Senator Rob Portman’s office in downtown Columbus on Friday to drum up support to end the government shutdown. (WSYX/WTTE)

    About 800,000 federal workers impacted by the shutdown received pay stubs on Friday with all zeroes on them instead of their normal paychecks. Many of them say they live paycheck to paycheck. A handful of federal employees rallied in front of Senator Rob Portman’s office in downtown Columbus to drum up support to end the government shutdown.

    “I’ve been through this, this is like my 4th time. This is the first time we’re actually getting paid for it, but we always worked without pay so it’s extremely troubling when a lot of our younger members have child care expenses, mortgages, car payments, just living expenses, and there’s no money coming in but you’re still required to return, report to work,” said Rick Hanna who works at the social security office in the Dayton area. “Our administration is playing games with our employees and use them as pawns in this entire fiasco.”

    Veterans aren’t getting spared either.

    “Many of us are just one paycheck away from being homeless, for having our utilities disconnected, all kinds of things, not be able to eat. We need this shutdown to stop,” said another federal employee and veteran Phyllis Johnson. She too was part of the rally in downtown Columbus.

    A handful of federal employees rallied in front of Senator Rob Portman’s office in downtown Columbus on Friday to drum up support to end the government shutdown. (WSYX/WTTE)

    So what can they do as the bills are piling up?

    “Two options: basically, one is to increase income or reduce expenses,” said Dr. Cazilia Loibl a professor who teaches family financial management at the Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology department.

    She gave us a few tips furlough workers can do right now:

    1. Call your mortgage lender or car loan provider and ask for an extension or payment plan.
    2. Get a side job to earn extra cash (Examples: Become an Uber driver. Turn a room in your home into an AirBnB, if you're a homeowner)
    3. Cut other expenses (Examples: Cancel your cable, cook at home and don't eat at restaurants)

    “Don’t give up! Ask to talk to a supervisor, really be able to negotiate your point and speak up for yourself,” said Dr. Loibl.

    The Franklin County Treasurer’s Office is also helping furlough federal workers by providing an extension to pay their property taxes.

    A handful of federal employees rallied in front of Senator Rob Portman’s office in downtown Columbus on Friday to drum up support to end the government shutdown. (WSYX/WTTE)

    “They just need to be able to give us something to help us document that they are affected by this furlough, by this government shutdown and we’re going to create for them a repayment plan without penalty or interest,” said the Franklin County Treasurer, The Honorable Cheryl Brooks Sullivan.

    To qualify for the extension, the property must be owner occupied:

    • The owner(s) must speak with one of the Franklin County Treasurer’s customer service or delinquent tax staff to fully determine if they qualify for the extension
    • Owner(s) must be a federal employee affected by the government shutdown
    • Owner(s) must provide proper documentation of their lost wages, income or benefits they were expecting and have been delayed due to the government shutdown
    • All documentation must be received in our office prior to 5:00 PM on January 22, 2019. Please fax all documentation to 614-525-3642.

    Please direct questions to 614-525-3438, or email the office at Treasurer@franklincountyohio.gov.

    Alternatively, you may visit the office at 373 S. High Street, 17th floor, Columbus, Ohio to answer additional questions about this program.

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    Follow Jackie Orozco on Facebook and Twitter: @JackieWSYX6

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