Governor Carney, Legislators Announce Bill to Assist Federal Workers

Loan program would protect federal workers and their families during government shutdown

DOVER, Del. – Governor John Carney and members of the Delaware General Assembly announced legislation on Tuesday to help federal workers who live in Delaware and are affected by the ongoing shutdown of the federal government.

House Bill 3, sponsored by House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst, would provide state-guaranteed, low-interest loans to federal workers to help cover mortgage payments, medical bills, food costs, and other bills facing federal workers who are going without pay during the shutdown. Under the program, M&T Bank, in partnership with the West End Neighborhood House, has agreed to provide short-term loans available in all three counties.

“For federal workers, including many of our neighbors here in Delaware, bills don’t just stop coming because the federal government is shut down,” said Governor Carney. “These workers still have to take their families to the doctor, get groceries, pay the electric bill, and the mortgage. We ought to do what we can to help these workers and their families.”

“Through no fault of their own, hundreds of Delaware families are facing the prospect of trying to pay their bills without a paycheck coming in, even though many of them are still being forced to show up for work. That’s unconscionable,” said House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst, the lead sponsor of HB 3. “While we can’t do anything to end this manufactured shutdown, we can do something on a state level to help federal workers in Delaware get financial support so their everyday obligations do not turn into burdens and force drastic decisions.”

The State of Delaware estimates that roughly 500 federal workers live in Delaware and are not being paid as the shutdown continues.

M&T Bank would provide federal employees with short-term loans with no credit check required. West End Neighborhood House and the $tand By Me program would assist federal employees in completing loan applications and provide financial literacy coaching to help their families endure the effects of the shutdown.

“M&T understands the impact of the partial government shutdown on workers and their families in Delaware and we are glad to partner with West End and the State of Delaware to provide short-term, low interest loans to those impacted,” said Nick Lambrow, President of M&T Bank’s Delaware Region.

“We are impressed at how quickly our partners have developed a plan to help federal workers weather the government shutdown. For 136 years, West End has assisted families navigating unforeseen circumstances and is proud to partner with M&T Bank and the State of Delaware on such a creative and timely solution,” said Paul Calistro, Executive Director of West End Neighborhood House.

Last week, the Delaware Department of Labor announced that it had extended unemployment insurance protections to federal employees affected by the shutdown. The Department of Labor began accepting applications for unemployment benefits from federal employees on Friday.

“Since January 4, we’ve received about 80 applications for unemployment from federal employees that work at agencies such as the Department of Agriculture, Department of Interior, Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Treasury as well as the IRS,” said Cerron Cade, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Labor. “Because unemployment by definition and state law means that a person is not working through no fault of their own, those who are essential federal employees and still working wouldn’t qualify. They need money for gas and everyday bills. We applaud the legislators with their quick turnaround to pass a bill to help these and other federal workers.”