Information & Resources for furloughed workers and all Coloradans impacted by the federal government shutdown

To contact your Senator or Congressional Representative regarding the federal government shutdown:

US Senator Michael Bennett
Cesar E. Chavez Memorial Building
1244 Speer Boulevard Denver, CO 80204
Toll Free: 866-455-9866
Phone: 303-455-7600

US Senator Cory Gardner
721 19th St., Suite 150
Denver, CO 80202
303-391-5777

US Rep Diana Degette (CO-01)
600 Grant Street, Suite 202
Denver, CO 80203
303-844-4988

US Rep Joe Neguse (CO-02)
Click here for office locations
Temporary line: 970-226-1721

US Rep Scott Tipton (CO-03)
Click here for office locations
970-241-2499

US Rep Ken Buck (CO-04)
Click here for office locations
720-639-9165

US Rep Doug Lamborn (CO-05)
Click here for office locations
719-520-0055

US Rep Jason Crow (CO-06)
202-225-7882

US Rep Ed Perlmutter (CO-07)
12600 West Colfax Avenue, Suite B-400
Lakewood, CO 80215
303-274-7944

Information & FAQs

SNAP Benefits

The following information regarding SNAP benefits has been provided by the Colorado Department of Human Services.

In response to the partial federal government shutdown, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has asked states to issue February’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits early–by Jan. 20th–which has the potential to affect about 220,000 Colorado families.

To be clear, the early release of benefits is not additional funding. This effort is intended to get February benefits to eligible recipients before current funding for the program lapses as a result of the partial federal government funding. If the federal government shutdown continues, benefits may not be available after February. Furloughed federal government employees who are in need are also encouraged to apply for SNAP.

The following information and FAQs has been provided by the Office of Congressman Ed Perlmutter (CO-07):

When there is a government shutdown, the affected federal agencies are required to furlough employees which are not considered “exempt” who must stay on the job. The precedent has been for both exempt and furloughed employees to later be paid through enactment of legislation, however that is not a guarantee and will depend on the final spending measure approved by Congress and the White House.

Health Insurance

Health insurance under the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program will continue even if an agency does not make premium payments on time. The employee will be in non-pay status, so the enrollee share of the premium will accumulate and will be withheld from pay once the employee has returned to pay status.

Filing for Unemployment Compensation

If you are a federal government employee who is furloughed because of the shutdown, you may be eligible to file for unemployment assistance from the state of Colorado. Unemployment compensation is administered by state agencies. We encourage workers to apply for unemployment assistance as soon as possible. It may take 4-6 weeks before unemployment benefits are dispersed. Federal employees may be eligible for Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE). States contribute to UFCE under the same terms and conditions as regular state unemployment. Visit the Colorado Department of Labor website at https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdle/unemployment or call 1-800-388-5515 Monday through Friday from 8am to 4pm.

For additional guidance on the shutdown from the Office of Personnel Management, visit https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/furlough-guidance/.

OTHER FAQs

Q: I am government contractor. What should I expect?
A: This is unclear. If you are a government contractor, you should discuss with your company’s management how their contract is structured. The fate of a government contractor depends largely on the agency with which their company contracts. Today, there are many contractors and different types of contract agreements. Unfortunately, in many previous shutdowns, contractors did not receive compensation through retroactive legislation.

A: This is unclear. If you are a government contractor, you should discuss with your company’s management how their contract is structured. The fate of a government contractor depends largely on the agency with which their company contracts. Today, there are many contractors and different types of contract agreements. Unfortunately, in many previous shutdowns, contractors did not receive compensation through retroactive legislation.

Q: Are Veterans benefits affected?
A: Veterans and their full package of benefits – pension, life insurance, GI Bill, VEAP, disability benefits, etc – should remain intact. Congress fully funded the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for fiscal year 2019.

Q: I rely on food assistance programs to feed my family. What should I expect? A: In the short term, the following programs will continue operations, but the situation may change depending on the length of the shutdown:

  • The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will continue operations and eligible households will still receive monthly benefits into February.
  • The Child Nutrition (CN) Programs, including School Lunch, School Breakfast, Child and Adult Care Feeding, Summer Food Service and Special Milk will continue operations at least until February.

Q: I am a federal government retiree. Will I receive my pension?
A: Yes. According to the Office of Personnel Management, federal retirees under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) will continue to receive their scheduled annuity payments on the first business day of the month.

Q: I am applying for a federal grant. Do I need to meet the deadline?
A: Yes. You should always submit your grant application ahead of the deadline. Grants.gov is operational; however, there may be limited staff to provide assistance depending on the agency. The Grants.gov Contact Center phone number is 1-800-518-GRANTS, and email Support@Grants.gov.

Q: What will happen to schools – including colleges and universities?
A: An extended shutdown could affect colleges, universities, school districts, and vocational rehabilitation agencies that depend on federal funds to support key services and programs.

  • Pell Grants and Direct Student Loans should continue as normal; however, students should contact their specific college or university with specific questions about federal financial aid – including pending awards for incoming students.

Q: It is tax filing season; what should I do?
A: Unfortunately, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is affected, however the Trump Administration has said they plan to require enough IRS workers to remain on the job so Americans can receive their refund in full and on time. In the interim, taxpayers may call 1-800-829-1040 for general information.

Q: Are federal courts still open?
A: Yes, but there may be limited operations. Federal courts have enough funding to operate through January 19, 2019. This means, that unless otherwise advised, all proceedings and deadlines remain in effect as scheduled, but you should check your local court or office for information specific to your needs. Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) will remain in operation for the electronic filing of documents with courts. If the shutdown continues for an extended period, the federal Judiciary system will reassess available funds and operations.

Q: I am planning to travel and need a passport. What should I expect?
A: Unfortunately, the partial government shutdown includes the U.S. State Department, but the agency relies on consular fees to support operations.

  • If you have a scheduled appointment at a U.S. Department of State passport agency or center, please plan on keeping your appointment.
  • If you need to cancel your appointment, you may do so by visiting the Online Passport Appointment System or by calling 1-877-487-2778.
  • If you have a scheduled appointment at a passport acceptance facility and need to cancel your appointment, please contact the facility directly.
  • Although the State Department operations may be closed, you should confirm your appointment since the shutdown might impact the facility housing a local passport agency.

Q: I am a United States citizen living abroad. Will the local United States embassy be open?
A: Yes. United States embassies will remain open to some degree, but U.S. citizens living abroad should prepare for delays in any application or processing requests as staff furloughs may occur. Please call 1-800-375-5283 for additional information.

Q: If I have an interview or appointment with U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS), should I attend? Can I still apply for a visa?
A: Yes. Although the Department of Homeland Security funding lapsed, USCIS is fee-funded, so it remains open and continues to process applications. You should attend interviews and appointments as scheduled. Please call 1-800-375-5283 for additional information.

Q: Can I apply for TSA PreCheck and Global Entry?
A: Online applications for TSA PreCheck are being accepted, but the Department of Homeland Security suspended Global Entry applications during the shutdown.

Resources

Jobs

  • The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment has a jobs database called ConnectingColorado with many part time job openings available.

Financial

  • Alpine Bank is offering interest-free personal loans equal to a worker’s monthly pay (even for federal employees who are not customers).
  • AT&T consumers who pay their bill on att.com are being offered payment extensions on their bills and the company is also waiving late fees. If you want to make payment arrangements, click here.
  • City and County of Denver will pay the next two mortgage payments to help furloughed workers get through the shutdown. The program will pay up to $5,000 in mortgage payments with no repayment necessary. It’s designed for moderate-income families. Workers do not have to repay the payments. They only have to prove they qualify by showing a recent financial hardship such as a furlough or temporary layoff. The city and county are offering the program through a partnership with United Way’s 211 call center. To start the application process, text or call 211.
  • Credit Union of Denver and Sunwest Educational Credit Union are offering payment deferrals and interest-free loans.
  • DIRECTV customers can go here for instructions on how to take advantage of flexible payment options.
  • Elevations Credit Union is offering “skip-a-pay” on loans for customers in good standing. Interest-free personal loans equal to a worker’s monthly pay are also available.
  • Metrum Credit Union is offering interest-free personal loans equal to a worker’s monthly pay.

Food

  • Big Red F Restaurant Group (The Post Brewing Co., Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar, Centro Mexican Kitchen, West End Tavern and Zolo Grill) is offering free weekday lunches to furloughed workers beginning Monday, Jan. 14.
  • Colorado Pet Pantry is offering services and pet food for furloughed workers with pets.
  • Curry and Kebob in Boulder is offering free meals to furloughed workers and their families.
  • Dazzle in downtown Denver is offering various free meals to furloughed workers.
  • Fazoli’s is offering a free “pizza baked spaghetti” with the purchase of a drink until Jan. 20.
  • Food Bank of the Rockies is helping people affected by the shutdown. Officials said they’re making sure they have extra food on their mobile pantries and are planning to extend their distribution on Saturday.
  • Food Bank of the Rockies is encouraging those looking to help furloughed workers and those impacted by the government shutdown to donate on their website.
  • Jewish Family Service Weinberg Food Pantry is waving normal income requirements for government employees impacted by furlough.
  • Lucha Cantina is offering various free meals to furloughed workers.
  • Oblio’s Pizzeria in Denver is giving complimentary dinners to government employees impacted by the shutdown.
  • Papa John’s in Brighton is offering two one-topping pizzas and a 2-liter soda for free.
  • Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) is offering food and resources to federal employees and constituents who are affected by the partial government shutdown. Breakfast and lunch meals will be offered Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. until the partial government shutdown ends. The meals are being offered at 12600 W. Colfax Ave., B-400 in Lakewood, Colo.
  • Sheraton Denver Tech Center is offering free pizza or salad to federal workers at the hotel for lunch and dinner until the end of January or the shutdown. Contact GM Erik Pederson 303-799-6200.
  • Walnut Cafe in Boulder is offering free breakfast to furloughed workers.
  • Wave the Grain in Centennial is offering a free small coffee and any one item worth up to $5.

Entertainment

Other

  • B-cycle workers may scan their federal ID and email Denver B-cycle to request a code to ride the B-cycles around town for free. People can also email B-cycle at info@denverbcycle.org to get their code.
  • Mile High United Way 211 Help Center is committed to helping individuals and families impacted by the federal government shutdown, as well as any individual or family who needs to get connected to resources. Furloughed federal employees and government contractors in need of resources can call 211 and get connected to health care services, food pantries, mental health resources, childcare, and utility and eviction prevention assistance, and more.