How To Deal With 50 Percent Pay Cut?

Tuesday - 8/16/2011, 2:00am EDT

For many, maybe most, of our still-vacationing members of Congress, the recent FAA furlough flap is gone with the wind. Off the radar. It happened, it's done, it was fixed. No biggie!

Not really.

Much of the media is doing clean-up coverage. Some have reported that the 13-day furlough grounded the entire FAA (it didn't) and that it's over.

It didn't involve the entire FAA. If it had, believe me, we would have all noticed. And it's not over either, at least for the 4,000 feds and 60,000 to 70,000 contractors who were hit by it.

For hundreds of FAA workers, the 13-day no-fault furlough means weeks, maybe months, of financial juggling. And for tens of thousands of private contractors, who also were also furloughed through no fault of their own, it means they've lost several weeks of pay (and maybe had insurance coverage interrupted) that will never be made good.

Congress is likely (but not 100 percent guaranteed) to pay the furloughed feds — eventually.

But in the meantime, because of the timing of the furlough, many of the 4,000 FAA workers who were grounded got a half check last week and will get 50 cents on the dollar in their next pay check. For some, that won't be a problem. But for people living paycheck to paycheck it's a problem. As we reported last week, there is a place they can go for quick relief.

The Federal Employees Education and Assistance Fund

As of last Friday, the Federal Employees Education and Assistance Fund said it has processed 14 emergency loans. FEEA offers no-interest emergency loans of up to $1,000 to feds in need. It is processing other requests from feds who say they need help paying their mortgage or rent. And it expects more requests when the next half check arrives.

FEEA officials say the requests for loans came from Massachusetts, Georgia, California, Michigan, Washington, Maryland, New Mexico, Tennessee, Texas, New Jersey and Virginia.

For some people, $1,000 is chump change. Not worth going through the paperwork involved. But if you need it, this feds-helping-feds charity is a life-line.

Feds Feed Families

Every year thousands of federal and military personnel get involved in the FFF program. Workers bring nonperishable food items (cans, etc.) to collection points in their agencies both in the U.S. and overseas. The food is distributed to local needy families in a low-cost, low-profile program that helps a lot of people.

Today, as part of that program, the Department of Housing and Urban Development is hosting a Feds Got Talent (it's entertainment, not an exercise in grammar) to boost the feed-the-needy program. Civil servants who sing, read poetry and even do Bavarian folk dances, will compete in Uncle Sam's version of America's Got Talent. Check this spot later. We hope to have video.


NEARLY USELESS FACTOID

Spring peeper frogs — found throughout the eastern half of the United States and about the size, in length, of a paperclip — have an unusual mechanism for coping with frigid winter temperatures. National Geographic reports the tiny amphibians can let most of their wee bodies freeze during hibernation and still survive.


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Feds' need for emergency loans has skyrocketed over past five years
The Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund is offering up to $1,000 in interest-free loans for FAA employees hit by the furlough.