How to pay your bills during the government shutdown

Posted at 12:01 PM, Jan 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-11 12:03:19-05

NORFOLK, Va. - This weekend thousands of federal government employees are due to get paid, but because of the ongoing government shutdown that money won't be there.

News 3 is reaching out to different companies and agencies for advice on how impacted employees can pay their bills.

Click here for full government shutdown news

Dominion Energy

A spokesperson for Dominion Energy says they're offering a number of options for people need financial assistance. Customers can request extensions, create an agreement to pay balances off over time, and request payment assistance.

Virginia Natural Gas 

A company spokesperson says they are working on a case-by-case basis with affected customers. Payment options and additional assistance may be available.


Per a company spokesperson: "Cox customers who may be facing a hardship due to the government shutdown are encouraged to call our Customer Care team at 757-222-1111 to discuss options based on their individual situations."

Paying rent/mortgage 

The federal Office of Personnel Management offers sample letters people can sent to their landlords or mortgage collectors. They recommend speaking with the landlord, mortgage company, or creditor before sending the letter in order to work out a reduced payment plan.

Keep in mind once the shutdown ends and employees are fully paid they will likely have to pay the full amount owed of their rent or mortgage.

Claiming unemployment benefits

Government workers on furlough can request unemployment benefits, according to the Virginia Employment Commission. The amount of money employees receive will range from a minimum of $60 per week for 12 weeks to a maximum of $378 a week for 26 weeks.

Employees who request the benefits will have to repay them once back pay is received.

North Carolina has a similar policy to Virginia.


Banks say they will work with customers impacted by the shutdown.

Bank of America says to call its Client Assistance Program.

Wells Fargo also says to give them a call or visit a branch.

Navy Federal Credit Union is offering 0% interest loans to some customers.

Cell Phone bills 

Several cell phone companies are providing assistance to furloughed workers during the shutdown.

Verizon is offering "promise to pay" arrangements where customers can pay at a later date.

AT&T is offering flexible payment options and the company says will adjust late fees, provide extensions, and work with customers.

T-Mobile and Sprint are also offering support.

Local Help

News 3 has seen several local businesses offering to help furloughed workers.

3 Amigos Hickory in Chesapeake is offering free tacos to Coast Guard family and friends.

Wolves in Wool in Yorktown is offering free haircuts to furloughed workers.

Food Bank of the Albemarle is offering food to families impacted by the shutdown.

The City of Norfolk says payment plans are available for some city bills. In addition, parking fees will be deferred for federal employees.

The City of Portsmouth is also offering some payment extensions and tax deferments.

The owner of The Destruction Room in Virginia Beach told News 3 the business is giving furloughed workers a free quick stress relief package, in which they'll get 10 glass items to smash. Participants will write something that's stressing them out on each piece of glass. All you have to do is show your government ID to receive the deal.

The Sub Zero Nitrogen location in Kempsriver Crossing also reached out to us saying they will be giving free Italian iced to furloughed members and their families.

Vintage Barber Co. in Chesapeake is also offering free haircuts to all Coast Guardsmen. Haircuts are by appointment only. Call (757) 581-1027 and mention that you are in the Coast Guard to schedule an appointment.

Commonwealth Exterminating will complete an "Overwintering Pest Control Service" to all furloughed workers at no cost. The service includes an interior treatment to baseboards for overwintering pests (rodent service not included) and a full inspection to determine where bugs, termites and other pests could be entering your home. Offer is valid with a federal employee ID card; the person home should be showing their current federal ID. Click here or call (757) 873-2030 and mention the "Furlough Freebie" to redeem the offer.

Christopher Newport University will waive the application fee for children of federal workers and contractors.

Local nonprofit Winston Wishes is offering food assistance for furloughed families who have pets.

For families who use the Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation Administration's childcare services or for people who are active in the administration's rec centers or sports leagues, your payments may be able to be delayed until the government reopens and you start to receive your paychecks again. Email VB Parks & Recreation at and let them know how they can help. Each situation will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Note: This is an ongoing compilation. If know of a business helping or have questions, email