Unpaid because of the government shutdown? Here are discounts, deals and food for you

Some businesses are offering financial relief for furloughed government workers.
Some businesses are offering financial relief for furloughed government workers. iStock

If you’re among the 800,000 federal employees going without a regular paycheck because of the government shutdown, here are some businesses and attractions that are offering furloughed federal workers a little financial relief, as well as offers of free food in the community for those in need:

Phone and TV

AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon and DIRECTV customers affected by the shutdown are eligible for flexible payment options to keep services including cellphones, television and internet running.

Rent Relief

American Homes 4 Rent, FirstKey Homes, Front Yard Residential, Invitation Homes, Progress Residential and Tricon American Homes are offering deferred rent payment options with no late fees to any renter who has been furloughed.

Residents apply for the deferral by showing verifiable proof of being furloughed.


Bank of America, Chase and Wells Fargo are offering financial assistance or hardship programs. Here are the contact numbers:

Bank of America: 844-219-0690.

Chase: 888-356-0023.

Wells Fargo: 800-TO-WELLS.

In addition, furloughed employees are eligible to receive an interest-free loan up to $500 from Check Cashing USA.

Credit Unions

FedChoice will cover the initial $5 deposit required to open an account and waive withdrawal penalties.

Congressional Federal Credit Union: Furloughed employees can apply for the “Relief Line of Credit” with an interest-free loan over the first 60 days.

If you are a member of U.S. Employees Credit Union or Navy Federal Credit Union, and have direct deposit set up for your government paycheck, you may be eligible for interest-free loans.


In this file photo, Kausar Haroon loads a box with food at the Islamic Foundation of South Florida on May 21, 2017. Haroon and her team give out food boxes from the pantry full of all the staples to about 170 needy families a month. The IFSF and Islamic School of Miami will also offer free food during the January 2019 government shutdown. PATRICK FARRELL Miami Herald File

The Islamic Foundation of South Florida Food Pantry in Sunrise and The Islamic School of Miami are offering free food baskets for as long as the longest shutdown in U.S. history lasts. “This will not be a one-time distribution but will continue until the shutdown is over,” said Shabbir Motorwala of the Coalition of South Florida Muslim Organizations.

“Anybody who is in need, we have plenty of food and we want to serve the community,” added organizer Yunus Ismail.

Among the offerings: canned fruits, vegetables, soup, cereal, evaporated milk, spaghetti and sauce, sugar, cookies, canned tomatoes and sauce and paste, juice, mashed potatoes, oil, oats and rice.

Food baskets will be distributed at both locations at 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays and weekends by appointment at the IFSF Food Pantry, 10875 NW 52nd St., Suite 7, Sunrise. Also, at the Islamic School of Miami, 11699 SW 147th Ave., Miami.

Information: 954-605-2937.

Federal employees and their families can contact Farm Share for information about Farm Share’s warehouses and how to get in touch with any one of the agency’s hundreds of partnering agencies throughout Florida to request food assistance.

Families can pick up a week’s worth or more for the duration of the shutdown or as long as they continue to be in need.

Farm Share — Homestead, 14125 SW 320th St.; 305-246-3276.

Farm Share — Quincy, 18212 Blue Star Hwy., Quincy; 850-627-9500.

Farm Share — Jacksonville, 1502 Jessie St.; 904-328-6158.

“Farm Share views the effects of the prolonged partial government shutdown on the livelihood and well-being of federal employees in the same manner we do a natural disaster. Therefore, given the unknown duration of this event, we’re working diligently to plan and implement relief efforts aimed at helping those affected families and individuals throughout Florida,” said Farm Share Chief Operation Officer Stephen Shelley in a release.


Several South Florida museums are offering free admission to guests with a valid federal employee ID. The offer has to be redeemed onsite:

The Bass Museum of Art.

The Wolfsonian-FIU.

The Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU.

Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM).

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens.


Coral Gables Art Cinema. Miami Herald File

Sometimes a diversion helps.

Coral Gables Art Cinema is offering free admission to federal employees during the government shutdown, said Nat Chediak, director of programming. “We hope to alleviate a small part of the hardship imposed on members of our community during this time.”

Starting Tuesday, patrons who present their valid federal employee ID at the box office will receive one free ticket to the first, regularly priced ($11.75) show of the day. Special programs are excluded, such as partner and affiliate programming, National Theatre Live, and films presented on a 70mm format.

You have to go to the box office at 260 Aragon Ave. — no online or advance orders. The offer is valid until the shutdown ends. Show times are at at

The world won't end if Washington can't find a way to pass a funding bill before this weekend. That's the truth about a government "shutdown": the government doesn't shut down.

Miami Herald Real Time/Breaking News reporter Howard Cohen, a 2017 Media Excellence Awards winner, has covered pop music, theater, health and fitness, obituaries, municipal government and general assignment. He started his career in the Features department at the Miami Herald in 1991.