Closings & Delays across the Tennessee Valley

Financial options for federal employees affected by the shutdown

HUNTSVILLE, Ala.  - Thousands of NASA employees haven't gone to work since the shutdown began. Even though they still have a job, federal employees who have been furloughed can file for unemployment. Financial institutions are also working to help furloughed employees or employees having t work without pay employees by offering low-interest loans.

The Marshall Space Flight Center has a lot fewer employees heading to work these days. 95% of those employees have been furloughed. If federal employees who are not working find themselves in a bind they can file for unemployment if they meet the requirements.

"You need to have lost your job or not be working due to no fault of your own. You have to have enough time working for your employer and applicable base wages," said Tara Hutchison, the communications director of Alabama Department of Labor.

Federal employees have received back pay in the past after a shutdown has ended. If that is the case this time, they would have to pay it back.

"However those people would be able to contact the department and work out a payment plan. We do this all the time so that they can pay that back on a monthly basis if necessary," Hutchinson said.

Financial institutions have reached out to federal employees to provide low-interest loans. Redstone Federal Credit Union is one of them. Members may apply for a loan at 2% interest of up to $5,000 - or their net monthly pay. The first loan payment is delayed for 60 days. Members may also request skip-a-pay on certain Redstone loans to free up cash for other expenses. That loan payment can be deferred for one month.

People can file for unemployment online or over the phone. In case you're wondering if the shutdown affects unemployment, it does not. Hutchinson says the agency has already been funded through a bill that was signed before the shutdown began.