The Government Shutdown: Searches and Resources

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by Bella Kirchner, Special Projects Manager

The longest government shutdown – 35 days – is coming to a (for now, temporary) halt. However, this has left more than 800,000 federal employees going without their second paychecks since the shutdown started, leaving some unable to pay for basic resources.

Many federal employee are living paycheck to paycheck. A study by the University of Michigan1 on federal and non-federal workers impacted by the 2013 government shutdown showed that the median worker only had enough cash or liquid assets to pay for eight days of average household expenses. The bottom third of the workers studied had on average a $0 balance in their combined savings and checking accounts the day before they received their paycheck.

There have been numerous news stories showing federal employees waiting in lines at food banks, leaning on diaper banks for diapers and wipes, hoping for discounts or extensions from utility companies, and relying on breaks at the gas station. They are struggling to cover their basic needs.

And the effects of the shutdown reach beyond just federal employees, with federal contractors and those seeking services from federally-funded programs feeling the impact as well.

Here at Aunt Bertha, we think that the uptick in searches in the Washington, DC area in recent weeks may be related to the shutdown. Below you can see a significant spike in searches starting in the second and third weeks of January for food resources, diapers, utility bill assistance, and help paying for gas.

Given all of this, we want to make sure federal workers can easily find the resources they need. We’ve added a number of programs specifically related to the shutdown as well as a special page on our site that consolidates many of those programs.

One of the programs listed that’s helping impacted federal workers.

And as always, anybody in need can use our site to search for free!


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