Government employees had a rough time during the longest federal government shutdown in U.S. history, from Dec. 22, 2018, to Jan. 25, 2019 (a total of 35 days). Furloughed federal workers had to cope with a month’s worth of missing pay, which is a huge problem considering that about 78% of American workers live paycheck to paycheck. About 800,000 people were affected, leading to the sharing of #ShutdownStories on social media. Luckily, many lenders were offering special deals on loans for furloughed workers, but now, many of those loans will have to be repaid.
Many furloughed workers haven’t fully recovered, and that’s why we’ve compiled a federal employee discounts list so that federal workers can save money and have an easier time getting back on their feet after the shutdown. And with the possibility of more shutdowns on the horizon, federal employees need resources for catching up and spending wisely. Here’s our helpful list of federal government discounts and tips!
Help, Allotment Loans, and Assistance Programs
During the shutdown, more than 150 banks and more than 500 credit unions offered loans for federal employees with lower rates and waived fees. The Congressional Federal Credit Union offered lines of credit, and many of the major banks, like Chase and Wells Fargo, promised to work with individuals dealing with missing income. If you or a loved one didn’t take advantage then, try talking to these companies now.
Some employees were even able to file for unemployment. Often, that wasn’t enough, however, with quite a few workers creating GoFundMe pages despite the fact that the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) has since claimed that that is an ethics violation, since this would technically be accepting gifts from the public. Simply put, anything offered to the general public or all federal workers is acceptable, but help offered to specific employees is generally frowned upon.
Unfortunately, a lot of the special deals, fee waivers, and even charitable aid have dwindled since the end of the shutdown, but that doesn’t mean federal workers don’t still need help.
Need to buy some tech? Most ordinary workers outside of the military don’t realize that there are dozens of post-shutdown federal government employee discounts. List out the best tech options, and then go in to see whether or not there is a special discount with that company. Many tech giants offer deals for local, state, and federal government workers, not just the military or veterans.
Planning on a trip for business or pleasure? There’s no reason for a federal worker to pay full price for it with thousands of dollars in deals for hotels, transportation, leisure activities, and entertainment available. While moving about for work, keep in mind the official regulations for federal employee travel, such as temporary duty (TDY) allowances, per-diem rates, and the FedRooms program. Consider downloading the GSA app to keep track of expenses. But if you’re traveling for pleasure, that doesn’t necessarily exclude the possibility of getting a discount for travel.
While there are fewer vacation deals for federal workers than military members (who can go to national parks for free), there are quite a few places where you can check for discounts. Check sites like GOVX, GovArm.com, and FedCruise.com, which specialize in government worker vacation deals. Also, see if your agency is listed on TicketsAtWork.com.
- JetBlue GSA Fares — Certain airlines, like JetBlue, offer deals on fares for federal employees traveling for business.
- Federal Employee Flight Discounts — Talk to American Airlines, Delta, United, or Southwest over the phone to see if you can get GSA deals.
- AFGE Member Discounts — AFGE members have several options for vacation-oriented federal employee discounts: Disney World, Disney Land, Busch Gardens, Adventure Island, SeaWorld, Universal Studios, Colonial Williamsburg, and more.
- Caesars Entertainment — Caesars is owned in part by Wyndham, and it offers 10% off the price of the stay of government workers at its properties, including many popular Las Vegas hotel/casinos.
- Tropicana in Las Vegas — Since it is a Hilton hotel, this entertainment spot also offers special federal government rates.
- SatoVacations Deals — This is part of the official government division of Carlson Wagonlit Travel, and they can help find excellent deals on your next vacation.
Dozens and dozens of businesses, from restaurants to yoga studios, offered aid, discounts, free stuff, and deals during the shutdown. Now that the shutdown is over, however, that doesn’t mean there aren’t federal employee discounts: 2019 still has a lot to offer in terms of post-furlough federal discounts and coupons. Check the helpful site ID.me to see what you can get with your official government identification.