As we’ve all come to know by now, the only military branch not getting paid during the government shutdown is the United States Coast Guard. To read more about it click here.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been hearing and reading some pretty ridiculous things from people who have no idea what this shutdown is actually doing to the Coast Guard and to the other thousands of federal employees.

Things NOT to say:

  • Don’t worry

This statement, while the sentiment behind it might be warm, doesn’t do us any good because most of us are literally going to worry from sun up to sun down about how to get bills paid, how to get child care, how to pay for groceries, etc.  Thanks for the thought – but don’t say it.

  • You’ll get paid back after the shutdown, though!

Please just don’t. I’m afraid that people who are saying this have no idea of how bills work.  Some utility and mortgage companies and a few landlords are understanding of the situation and are willing to work with people with late payments, but most are not. Please don’t think that just because eventually we will get paid for the work we’re doing that we’re OK with what’s happening.

  • It’s like a really long vacation!

Umm …no. Federal employees are still reporting to work and have been for more than 4 weeks without ANY pay whatsoever.  Some employees, including the civilian employees of the United States Coast Guard, are not reporting to work or getting paid, but don’t for one second think that it’s a vacation. They can’t go on trips, they have to conserve resources and many are shopping from food banks and donations because their paycheck is still ZERO.


Whatever side of the political game you are on, please don’t offer your thoughts and opinions to anyone who is an employee of the federal government right now. Sure, they have their own opinions on whose fault this is or who should cave and end the shutdown, but honestly that is secondary to the federal employees right now. These people just want to get paid and provide for their families. We just want it to end.

  • You should have been prepared by putting more money into savings!

This is the worst one in my opinion. What anyone does with their earnings is none of your business. How people manage their money should not be a concern of yours. Some people have no choice but to live paycheck to paycheck and cannot afford to put any of their pay away for something like this.

This is so insulting to hear, and our family is one that does have the safety cushion of some savings. Please refrain from saying this to anyone in general – but especially to anyone affected by the government shutdown.


Things you can do to help a federal employee during the government shutdown:

  • Donate food to any food banks advertising that they are helping federal employees. There also are several organizations through the United States Coast Guard who are doing food drives and will be able to accept any donations you’d be willing to make. Trust me – they are greatly appreciated.
  • Just be there. Just listen to someone vent about their frustrations. The correct response is always, “Man, that sucks.” Don’t try and fix the problem. Just be there.
  • Offer childcare! A lot of people who work for the federal government — in particular to our purposes at Military Moms Blog, the United States Coast Guard — will be struggling with finding care for their children because they still have to report to work! If you have a free afternoon or even a few hours for the parents to get out and blow off some steam, this is a great way to help.
  • Be kind. Everyone you know is fighting some sort of battle.


  1. You are spot on and I’m so sorry you’re going through this. As a retired Fed who works for a contractor I can definitely empathize. Here’s hoping this ends soon.

    • Many banks are offering loans with little to no interest rates. However, a $1500 loan when our rent alone is near $4000 doesn’t really help much.

      Resources are available to us and many of us are taking advantage of them but it’s a lot of unnecessary work for us to have to go through for something that was forced upon us.

    • At least some banks, especially those with a lot of military and federal customers, are offering some types of assistance, including interest-free loans and deferred debt payments, to people who already have accounts with them. USAA and Navy Federal Credit Union are among them, but there are many others.

      • Dana,

        Yes. Some institutions are offering help. Their resources aren’t without limitations though and some have restrictions and are only being offered with an interest rate.

        While this is helpful, it’s still sad that this even has to happen. Our military members deserve better and should never be subjected to being cut off this way.

  2. My husband works for the federal government. We are a single salary family. One of the other things I hear that makes me cringe, “Everyone should have a side hustle.” I am pretty sure this is spoken only by people who aren’t aware that there is a thing called conflict of interest and its importance in maintaining a non-biased government. Those sorts of things are exactly what my husband works to maintain in the government. He just isn’t currently getting paid for it.

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