Fed Assistance Fund Flooded With Furlough Aid Requests
A nonprofit federal employee assistance fund is receiving loan requests from furloughed federal employees every hour, and anticipates even more in the next few weeks, its director told Federal News Radio.
The Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund disbursed $90,000 in June, and more than half of that was for furlough-related hardships, the organization said in a press release. Furlough loans ballooned from four in May to 82 in June, FEEA noted.
The June loan disbursements do not reflect Defense Department furloughs, which will likely lead to an “avalanche” of applications in July, the organization stated. The Pentagon is requiring about 680,000 civilian workers to take 11 unpaid days of leave between July and Sept. 30.
Despite the flood of applications, no eligible feds have been turned away yet, FEEA Director Steve Bauer said in an interview with Federal News Radio. FEEA provides interest-free loans of up to $1,000 to federal workers who have already seen a reduction in their paycheck. Applicants must have trouble covering basic expenses such as mortgage or utility payments to qualify.
Assistance fund officials will likely have to prioritize cases as requests continue to pour in, the statement said. The “most serious situations” will be considered first, including threat of eviction and utility shut-off.
Many requests come from employees already in a precarious financial situation, such as those facing an illness, the organization noted, adding, “It is far beyond FEEA’s means to replace billions of dollars in lost wages, but we will continue to do our best to help as many federal employees as we can.”