The budget brawl over President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall is starting to hit people in their pocketbooks, as more than 800,000 federal workers will miss their first paychecks Friday due to the government shutdown.
Banks, utilities, and telecommunications companies are rushing to help affected customers who may struggle to pay bills without income. They are waiving fees, offering flexible payment options, and granting other relief.
“Just because the government shut down, doesn’t mean that your phone, TV, and internet should stop working too,” AT&T said in a statement.
Here is a rundown of some of the help available to affected federal workers:
Wells Fargo will automatically reverse monthly service and overdraft fees for affected federal workers whose paychecks were directly deposited into their accounts in November, a bank spokesperson said. The bank will also work with customers who don’t have direct deposit. And Wells Fargo said it can identify short- or long-term options for those having trouble making loan payments. Customers can call 1-800-869-3557 or the number on their credit or debit cards or statements.
TD Bank said it will help federal workers, contractors, or benefits recipients by allowing certain account-holders to overdraft their checking account by the amount of their monthly government deposit (up to $1,000) without overdraft fees. Credit-card customers who incur late fees due to the shutdown can also get help, as well as those struggling to pay mortgage, home equity, personal, small business, and auto loans, a spokesperson said. Affected customers should call 1-888-751-9000.
Chase Bank is waiving overdraft and monthly service fees for affected account-holders. The bank also is helping mortgage, credit card, and car loan customers, though they must contact the bank at 1-888-356-0023.
WSFS Bank said it is prepared to work with federal workers affected by the shutdown and encourages customers to call 1-888-973-7226 or visit a branch.
Peco said furloughed federal workers who contact the utility about problems paying bills can get a 21-day collection hold on their account if they’re not already 30 days behind on their bills, a spokesperson said. That will stop any action or late-payment charge for the three-week period. Those who are a month behind can get a 16-day collection hold on their accounts.
Atlantic City Electric and Peco customers may also qualify for other financial assistance programs, such as the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. ACE customers can call 1-800-642-3780 and Peco customers can contact 1-800-494-4000.
PGW offers several assistance programs for those struggling financially, such as payment arrangements for customers who fall behind and the ability to evenly divide payments over a 12-month period, to avoid bill surges during the winter. Customers can call 215-235-1000 for more information.
T-Mobile is offering flexible payment options to spread payments over time. as well as payment deferrals, for federal workers and government account customers. Consumers can contact 1-877-746-0909.
Verizon customers can get flexible payment options or enroll in a program allowing consumers to set a future date for bill payment. Customers can make the payment arrangements online or by calling 1-866-266-1445.