If you are currently facing financial challenges, it helps to communicate as soon as possible with your mortgage lender, your credit card institutions, your bank, even your landlord. Speak with them first about your current situation. In addition, financial institutions may be able to provide some flexibility or assistance. Below are some additional resources that are available to you.
Letter to Creditors
Although employees received a paycheck today for hours worked prior to the lapse in appropriations, this partial paycheck may create some personal financial challenges for some employees. You can find online a Letter to Creditors that explains that during the government shutdown, DOT employees will not receive full pay for an undetermined period of time, and also asks creditors to extend some flexibility to DOT employees.
Employee Assistance Program
The DOT Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available with a comprehensive, nationwide network of experienced, licensed counselors, who can provide legal and financial consultations. For assistance, call 1-800-222-0364 or 1-888-262-7848 (TTY).
Thrift Savings Plan
Employees may pursue loan options through their Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). Additional details can be located at www.tsp.gov.
Orderly Shutdown Activities
Orderly shutdown activities for non-excepted personnel should be completed within the first half-day (i.e. up to 4 hours) of an employee’s normal work schedule. Examples of potential shutdown activities include:
- Receiving and acknowledging receipt of furlough notice.
- Adjusting voicemail and email to reflect current work status.
- Taking measures to secure files (computer or hard copy).
- Making contacts outside the agency that are necessary to communicate our status.
- Canceling meetings, hearings, and other previously arranged agency business.
- Documenting the status of projects so that they can be resumed, transferred or otherwise appropriately handled when DOT’s ultimate funding situation is determined.
- Activities essential to support continued operation of those DOT functions which are funded or are being continued pursuant to emergency exception determinations – involving the safety of human life or the protection of property.
Non-excepted DOT employees should use the same e-mail and telephone messages for communicating their work status to internal and external customers.
- E-mail message: “I am not in the office due to a lapse in funding. I will respond to your e-mail upon my return.”
- Telephone message: “Hello, you have reached ______________ of the (Operating Administration). I will be out of the office due to a lapse in funding. Please call back after news reports advise of a resumption of services by all Federal agencies.”
- A DOT Hotline has been established to communicate information concerning the lapse in funding/operating status. Employees may call 202-366-6930 or 1-888-719-9215 for the latest information.
- Information will also be made available on the DOT website at: http://dotnet.dot.gov/furlough.
- Employees may also find the latest guidance concerning furlough on OPM’s website at: http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/furlough-guidance/#url=Shutdown-Furlough.