The United States is currently going through the longest government shutdown in its history. Partial government shutdown or full government shutdown, it doesn’t matter. The pain of the unpaid government workers, laid-off associated contractors, and numerous businesses that either supply the government, depend on government workers for its business or have any kind of interaction with the government are experiencing great pains.
This is not a red pain or blue pain. Instead, it’s a green pain because the economic impact puts a strain on personal bank accounts regardless of personal politics. Although government agencies have published some seemingly tone-deaf tips about how their workers can survive this shutdown, they’ve mostly fallen flat. They don’t account for the fact that most families affected by the shutdown are those who get personal loans for bad credit to pay the bills. Garage sales and mystery shopper gigs aren’t going to get the job done.
Friday, January 11, 2019, was the first day government workers missed a paycheck. That means that those financially hurt by the government shutdown are starting to see even more magnified effects on their personal finances. Many workers who have to still work during the shutdown got a pay stub that said their normal hours worked but $0.00 for pay. While the government may have itself on ‘pause,’ one’s bills, creditors and grocery needs are ever constant and far from being patient during this stoppage.
The immediate and measurable need of cash creates financial instability for those impacted by the shutdown. Some people’s homes will move into delinquency and/or foreclosure. People’s credit ratings will be impacted because of their inability to meet their monthly payments. News has promoted stories of individuals unable to get proper health care or medicine. All of these scenarios will have long term impacts, ranging far beyond whenever the government does open back up for business.
What to Do in Order to Survive the Shutdown
The following offers a few tips of things that you can do to help survive this shut down:
- Consider borrowing money to pay bills until the shutdown ends (including from friends, family, your retirement savings, loans, and credit cards);
- Contact your creditors in order to see if they offer any special assistance as someone impacted by the government shutdown;
- File for unemployment, if eligible, so that at least a portion of your normal pay will be made available to you;
- Some employees have even started GoFundMe pages in order to seek assistance from the general public; and
- Contact your local elected officials to voice your concern and personal situation so that they can advocate on your behalf.
Avoiding bankruptcy is a key to these steps so that you’re not penalized for the actions of the government in your personal life. Avoiding bankruptcy outside of a government shutdown can usually be helped by visiting with a credit counseling agency, so that is something that you might want to do now as well.
Although this government shutdown is the longest ever, the shutdowns are happening more frequently than ever before. Thus, there is a good possibility that you might be in this situation all over again sometime in the near future. Whether it’s a delay on receiving your tax refund or being able to go to court, the shutdowns are like a pebble in a pond and the ripples will expand far beyond where the pebble hit the water.