Currently, disagreements over funding for Donald Trump’s proposed border wall have partially shut down the U.S. government. In this article, we’ll explore what that shutdown means for government employees. We’ll also suggest how credit unions can support their government employee members during the shutdown by offering quick, small loans.
Regardless of your political leanings, one thing is clear: the shutdown is a serious threat to hundreds of thousands of American families. Fortunately, credit unions are well-positioned to assist members experiencing a loss of income.
Who’s Affected by the Partial Government Shutdown?
The government is not limited to politicians working in D.C., nor is it limited to state and local politicians. The government shutdown affects several departments, and some are seeing more fallout than others.
Funding for the following departments has expired:
- The Department of Homeland Security
- The Justice Department
- The Department of the Interior
- The State Department
- The Department of Housing and Urban Development
Unfortunately, that’s not a complete list. There are other parts of the government that are also experiencing a funding crisis.
More Casualties of the Government Shutdown
Here’s another list of affected bodies, agencies, and people affected by a lack of government funding. These agencies aren’t completely without funding, as much of their work is considered essential. Nevertheless, large portions of their workforce are furloughed, meaning that they’re on leave without pay.
Nearly 17,500 employees—almost 85% of Nasa’s workforce—are furloughed. Critical experiments and studies are on hold, many of which may need to be restarted from scratch.
Internal Revenue Service
Because tax season is nearly upon us, the IRS is retaining more employees than they would at another time of the year. However, more than 50% of IRS employees are furloughed, which will make it difficult for people to get help during tax time.
National Institutes of Health
The NIH continues to attempt to provide critical updates as they can, but without full funding, their coverage of health and medical research may be delayed.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The CDC had plans to furlough 61% of their employees. However, with a current flu outbreak spreading across the U.S., they’re fighting for additional funding to combat the flu and other communicable maladies.
Active-duty military personnel continue to work unpaid during the government shutdown. However, millions of non-active military members are furloughed, and their families are affected accordingly.
What This Means for Government Employees
Unfortunately, the deadline for government funding is past. Government employees may not be earning paychecks, but their bills are still coming. Rents and mortgages, auto payments, student loan bills, credit card debt, groceries, transportation, medical expenses and more do not shut down with the government.
The holiday season is an expensive one. Buying presents, traveling, and preparing meals takes its toll on even the healthiest wallets. For government employees who wish to celebrate, it may mean dipping into savings, racking up credit card debt, or getting personal loans to make ends meet while the paychecks stop coming.
Most families don’t have much time to prepare or respond to this sudden loss of income. Few credit unions have the time or ability to build a support system for their affected members, who need help immediately.
How Can Credit Unions Help?
Credit unions who offer small-dollar loans to their members may have an opportunity to help their members maintain solvency. Quick, small loans are not the same as payday loans, and they don’t carry the same hefty interest rates.
Offering small-dollar loans to government employees may keep them from turning to unscrupulous lenders. For credit unions that don’t currently have a small, quick loans platform, they have options. QCash offers a turnkey solution to underwrite, approve, and fund small-dollar loans for credit union members in less than 60 seconds.
These loans can help government employees make ends meet while they wait for funding to return.
Credit unions can also offer these loans to other members in need. To learn more about what kind of situations quick, small loans can help members with, read the attached links below, or download our Member Crisis Guide to see how your credit union can support members through times of financial distress.