Resources for Connecticut Residents Affected by the Government Shutdown

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The current partial shutdown of the United States government began after midnight on December 21, 2018. Essential federal employees continue to work throughout the shutdown, but many without pay. Other federal employees are on furlough – not working and not receiving pay. In Connecticut, there are an estimated 1,500 federal employees who work for the Coast Guard, Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration, Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies, who are impacted by the shutdown. Additionally, there are other Connecticut residents who rely on federal benefit programs and services, who may also be affected. Below is information and resources for those affected, as well as for those who want to help.


Unemployment Insurance

Federal employees who work in Connecticut and is furloughed and not working due to the shutdown, can file for unemployment benefits. Employees who are required to work without pay throughout the shutdown are not eligible to file for unemployment. Eligible individuals can file new unemployment claims online at  For additional in person assistance, these  American Job Center locations, Bridgeport, Hartford, Hamden, Montville, or Waterbury will provide a Benefits Specialist who can assist – visit American Job Centers for the location of these centers. For more information on the guidelines regarding unemployment insurance eligibility, see the CT Department of Labor’s press release here.

Financial Assistance – Loans

If you need assistance locating a participating financial institution, please contact the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority at or 860-721-9501/1-844-CT1-HOME (toll free).

Temporary Financial Assistance

Income Tax Refunds & Assistance

The IRS will begin processing tax returns on January 28th, regardless of the shutdown. The Treasury Department funds are paid out of a ‘permanent, indefinite appropriation’ that is not affected by the shutdown. Federal workers impacted by the shutdown who will be eligible for a tax refund should file their taxes as quickly as they can. Free tax preparation services are available from the following programs:

Tuition Assistance

The Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system is postponing tuition payments from federal workers and their families until after the shutdown is over. UConn is also allowing students to defer payments and encourages affected students to contact the Office of the Bursar.

Basic Needs

Employees affected by the shutdown may need to supplement their lost income by accessing some of the available safety net programs that provide free groceries and meals, help with utility bills, and other basic needs.


Connecticut residents who receive benefits that are funded, at least in part, by federal dollars may be worried about how those benefits will be impacted by the current shutdown. Listed below is information regarding some of the federal benefit programs, as well as federal services.


United Way Worldwide, along with corporate partners, organized labor, the United Way network and nonprofits launched a coalition to help those impacted by the government shutdown, where individuals can donate to assist furloughed federal workers and others impacted by the ongoing government shutdown. For more details and how to help, click the following link: United Way Worldwide:

Individuals interested in helping and getting involved can also reach out to their local United Way. To find your local United Way, visit United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut’s Neighbors in Need fund will help affected government employees. Donations to the fund can be made here:

Food pantries and other community-based organizations that are helping affected employees also need donated items. For a list of programs that accept food donations, visit and search the keyword 🔎 ‘Food Donation Programs‘ for your zip code or town.