How your wal­let can sur­vive the gov’t shut­down

420,000 are work­ing with­out pay

Yuma Sun - - BUSINESS -

There’s no end in sight to the par­tial fed­eral shut­down and, more dis­tress­ing to fed­eral work­ers, no pay­check in sight ei­ther.

The shut­down has fur­loughed 380,000 fed­eral work­ers and forced an ad­di­tional 420,000 to work with­out pay. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has said he is will­ing to keep the gov­ern­ment closed for months or even years to get his de­mands met. But even if an agree­ment is reached and the gov­ern­ment re­opens, it could be some time be­fore any­one earns a fresh pay­check or gets po­ten­tial back pay.

It’s a bur­den that few Amer­i­can house­holds can bear with­out strain. Some ex­perts weigh in with tips on how to cope:

PRI­OR­I­TIZE YOUR BILLS

Sit down and take a good look at what bills are due, or will be due soon.

Rank your obli­ga­tions by im­por­tance in case you can­not meet them all. Mort­gage and util­ity bills should top the list, fol­lowed by credit card pay­ments and any other re­volv­ing debt. Con­sider mak­ing just the min­i­mum pay­ments on your credit cards for now. Then look at any other spend­ing to fig­ure out what is es­sen­tial and what can be trimmed. Limit spend­ing to musthave items only un­til pay re­sumes.

CON­TACT LENDERS

Con­tact the lenders for your mort­gage, credit cards, auto loans and any other ex­penses to dis­cuss your op­tions.

The up­side is that com­pa­nies are aware of the sit­u­a­tion and a num­ber of them are of­fer­ing help.

Chase, for one, has been au­to­mat­i­cally re­fund­ing over­draft or monthly ser­vice fees for cus­tomers who had di­rect de­posit of fed­eral gov­ern­ment pay­checks to sav­ings and check­ing ac­counts since the shut­down be­gan. It also is of­fer­ing var­i­ous hard­ship op­tions for its auto, credit card and mort­gage cus­tomers. AT&T said that it will waive late fees, pro­vide ex­ten­sions and oth­er­wise work with cus­tomers on flex­i­ble pay­ments for phone, in­ter­net and tele­vi­sion ser­vice as long as the shut­down is in ef­fect.

Sev­eral large banks, such as Bank of Amer­ica and Wells Fargo, are also mak­ing their hard­ship pro­grams avail­able to fed­eral work­ers and oth­ers hurt by the shut­down. The terms vary but typ­i­cally in­clude op­tions for de­layed pay­ment, waived fees or loan mod­i­fi­ca­tions on var­i­ous prod­ucts. Smaller banks are tak­ing steps as well: Ocean­first Bank in New Jersey said it will grant for­bear­ance or tem­po­rar­ily sus­pend mort­gage pay­ments for up to 90 days for bor­row­ers whose in­come is af­fected by the shut­down.

But you must con­tact the com­pa­nies to get any sort of as­sis­tance.

FIND FUNDS

It’s time to find some money to tide you over.

House­holds with­out emer­gency sav­ings should con­sider other sources of cash, such as sell­ing as­sets, be it stock or un­used items around the house. Other op­tions in­clude with­drawals from a Roth IRA, which are tax and penalty free; bor­row­ing from cash value life in­sur­ance poli­cies; or tap­ping a home eq­uity line of credit.

Con­sider bor­row­ing from fam­ily, if it isn’t too fraught with com­pli­ca­tions.

There are de­cent op­por­tu­ni­ties to bor­row else­where as well. Some banks, such as Navy Fed­eral Credit Union are of­fer­ing cer­tain cus­tomers af­fected by the shut­down a loan of up to $6,000 at 0 per­cent APR. Oth­ers, such as USAA, are of­fer­ing low-in­ter­est loans to cer­tain im­pacted work­ers. The Amer­i­can Fed­er­a­tion of Teach­ers, a union that rep­re­sents a num­ber of fed­eral gov­ern­ment em­ploy­ees, is also of­fer­ing in­ter­est-free loans for its im­pacted mem­bers.

Try and avoid riskier sources for money, such as raid­ing your re­tire­ment stash or col­lege sav­ings for the kids; the long-term neg­a­tives might not be worth the short-term re­lief. Avoid ti­tle loans or payday lend­ing as the in­ter­est rates are ex­or­bi­tant. While some use of credit cards is un­der­stand­able, be aware that those bal­ances may be­come due be­fore your pay re­sumes.

CON­SIDER UN­EM­PLOY­MENT

You may be able to seek un­em­ploy­ment de­pend­ing on your job and where you live. Un­em­ploy­ment rules are de­ter­mined by state law, so whether you qual­ify is based the state you live in, said Tom Spig­gle, founder of Spig­gle Law Firm in D.C.

A word of warn­ing: You’d be ob­li­gated to re­pay the state for any ben­e­fits you re­ceived if you are granted un­em­ploy­ment but later re­ceive back pay.

GET A SIDE HUS­TLE

Fed­eral work­ers can find an­other pay­ing job as long as there is no ethics rule or statute that pro­hibits it, Spig­gle said. Some po­si­tions may pro­hibit you from do­ing re­lated work but may al­low you to do un­re­lated work.

The U.S. Coast Guard sug­gested em­ploy­ees hold garage sales or of­fer to babysit, walk pets or hous­esit to earn cash — tips that were per­ceived by many as tone-deaf and were later re­moved from a sup­port pro­gram web­site. But sadly, it may come to that for many fam­i­lies. The flex­i­bil­ity and cash found through the gig econ­omy may prove es­sen­tial for some work­ers.

Bar­bara O’Neil, a fi­nan­cial plan­ner and pro­fes­sor at Rut­gers Univer­sity, sug­gests work­ers should in­ven­tory their skill set and think about ways to con­vert those into an in­come stream.

How­ever, time may be an is­sue for those work­ing with­out pay. Spig­gle said there has been some spec­u­la­tion that the TSA agents who called in sick were do­ing so to work other jobs to make ends meet. He warns that is an im­proper use of sick leave and could get a worker dis­ci­plined or even fired.

SEEK AS­SIS­TANCE

If you find you can­not get by, look into what pub­lic as­sis­tance is avail­able. Call 211 or visit www.211.org to find out what hu­man ser­vices pro­grams are avail­able in your com­mu­nity. Ex­am­ples in­clude SNAP — the sup­ple­men­tal nutri­tion as­sis­tance pro­gram — en­ergy as­sis­tance and food pantries. Sev­eral food pantries na­tion­wide have made them­selves avail­able for those in­di­vid­u­als or fam­i­lies at risk of go­ing hun­gry due to the shut­down.

TALK IT OUT

There is a sense of pow­er­less­ness to this sit­u­a­tion that is frus­trat­ing for work­ers, said Den­nis Nolte, vice pres­i­dent and fi­nan­cial plan­ner at Sea Coast In­vest­ment Ser­vices in Florida. He rec­om­mends talk­ing to friends or rel­a­tives or form­ing a group with co-work­ers to com­mis­er­ate about uncer­tainty to help keep the stress in check.

Cham­ber to hand out awards at an­nual din­ner

Yuma County Cham­ber of Com­merce will honor lo­cal busi­nesses and cel­e­brate Grow­ing Yuma dur­ing the An­nual Din­ner to be held at 6 p.m. Fri­day in the 3C Schoen­ing Con­fer­ence Cen­ter on the cam­pus of Ari­zona Western Col­lege, 2020 S. Av­enue 8 East.

It will be an evening of cel­e­brat­ing suc­cess, ex­cel­lence and part­ner­ships. The cham­ber will hand out sev­eral awards, in­clud­ing Small Busi­ness Per­son of the Year, Cham­ber Mem­ber of the Year, Athena In­ter­na­tional Award win­ner and Am­bas­sador of the Year.

The cham­ber will also an­nounce the Yuma County Sher­iff’s Of­fice Deputy of the Year and Cor­rec­tions Of­fi­cer of the Year. Plus, it will be rolling out two new cat­e­gories: Cham­ber Cham­pion and the In­sta­gram­mys.

The theme of “Grow­ing Yuma” high­lights the area’s agri­cul­ture, ed­u­ca­tion, man­u­fac­tur­ing, tech­nol­ogy and mil­i­tary.

For more in­for­ma­tion, call the cham­ber at 928-7822567.

Spe­cial sum­mit on brown wood rot set for Jan. 25

Grow­ers and the pub­lic are in­vited to a spe­cial sum­mit on brown wood rot, hosted by the Univer­sity of Ari­zona, on Fri­day, Jan. 25, at 9:30 a.m.

Brown wood rot (Fomi­top­sis meliae) is a se­ri­ous fun­gal pathogen af­fect­ing le­mon trees in Yuma County and it has re­cently been found in Im­pe­rial County, Calif.

Speak­ers in­clude Drs. Mike Matheron, Glenn Wright and Alex Hu of the Univer­sity of Ari­zona, who will talk about past, cur­rent and fu­ture re­search on BWR, and Dr. Jeanette Rapi­va­coli of Syn­genta Crop Pro­tec­tion who will dis­cuss po­ten­tial chem­i­cal con­trols for the dis­ease.

Also, the sem­i­nar will in­clude a round­table dis­cus­sion with the speak­ers, grow­ers and all other in­ter­ested par­tic­i­pants to so­licit ad­di­tional re­search ideas that will lead to so­lu­tions to the BWR prob­lem.

Ari­zona and Cal­i­for­nia con­tin­u­ing ed­u­ca­tion unit hours will be of­fered, and a free lunch will be pro­vided.

The sem­i­nar will be held at the Yuma Agri­cul­ture Cen­ter, 6425 W. 8th Street, Yuma, AZ 85364.

There is no fee to at­tend, but please RSVP to Dr. Glenn Wright at 928-782-5876 or [email protected] ag.ari­zona.edu so that an ac­cu­rate lunch count can be ob­tained.

Yuma South­west Con­trac­tors As­so­ci­a­tion will host “Build­ing 2019’s Fu­ture Lunch and Learn” from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Thurs­day, Jan.31, at the Hil­ton Gar­den Inn Pivot Point Con­fer­ence Cen­ter, 310 N. Madi­son Ave.

Guest speak­ers from the con­struc­tion com­mu­nity part­ners will high­light changes com­ing into ef­fect for the 2019 year. Guests will in­clude the Ari­zona Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion, APS, Ari­zona Western Col­lege, Ari­zona Reg­is­trar of Con­trac­tors, Yuma Build­ing Safety and GENTECH.

The top­ics will in­clude the new 2018 adopted build­ing codes, ADOT pro­ject op­por­tu­ni­ties, Diesel Fuel: Standby Power and More, and a cer­ti­fied work­force

Lunch is in­cluded. The

Hus­band-and-wife team Dr. Mahesh Subbu and Dr. Sonal Subbu are join­ing the Yuma Re­gional Med­i­cal Cen­ter fam­ily ef­fec­tive Mon­day. Their prac­tices, Yuma Chil­dren’s Clinic and Yuma Med­i­cal Clinic, will have a new name: YRMC Pe­di­atrics and In­ter­nal Medicine.

How­ever, pa­tients will still see them and their staff at the same lo­ca­tion: 2851 S. Av­enue B, Suite 1201, Build­ing 12. In ad­di­tion, the phone num­bers are not chang­ing: 928-819-7000 (pe­di­atrics) and 928-329-7000 (in­ter­nal medicine).

The doc­tors, in a let­ter to their pa­tients, noted: “Please be as­sured that while our name is chang­ing, we will con­tinue to pro­vide the same high level of care to you and your fam­ily in the same lo­ca­tion. We will con­tinue to be en­rolled with most com­mer­cial health­care plans, as well as Medi­care, Med­i­caid and Tri­care. Our staff is al­ways avail­able to as­sist you with in­sur­ance ques­tions ...

“We have cared for fam­i­lies in our com­mu­nity for many years and that com­mit­ment will con­tinue. This change will al­low us to truly fo­cus on our won­der­ful pa­tients while the busi­ness op­er­a­tions will be man­aged by YRMC. We value your con­tin­ued trust in our care team and look for­ward to serv­ing you.”

LOANED PHOTO

DR. MAHESH SUBBU and Dr. Sonal Subbu are join­ing the Yuma Re­gional Med­i­cal Cen­ter fam­ily. Pa­tients will see them at the same lo­ca­tion, but will no­tice a new name: Yuma Re­gional Med­i­cal Cen­ter Pe­di­atrics and In­ter­nal Medicine.YSWCA host­ing Lunch and Learn on 2019 changes Dr. Mahesh Subbu, Dr. Sonal Subbu join YRMC fam­ily

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