The United States Coast Guard offered up five-page tip sheet to its employees that are grappling with missing paychecks due to the nearly three-week shutdown. The guidance titled “Managing your finances during a furlough” gives some clear-eyed financial advice and practical suggestions on dealing with the sudden, unanticipated loss of a salary for an uncertain amount of time. It then went on to give some more tone deaf advice in “Step Four: Supplement Your Income,” including babysitting, dog walking, and selling your stuff to make ends meet.
The Coast Guard is part of the Department of Homeland Security, unlike the other branches of the military that are under the Department of Defense, and therefore its funding is impacted by the government closure. Of the Coast Guard’s 8,500-person civilian workforce that last received a paycheck Dec. 22nd, 6,400 are on indefinite furlough, while 2,100 others that have been deemed essential workers are still on the job working without pay, the Washington Post reports. On top of those workers, there are 41,000 active-duty Coast Guardsmen working without pay as a result of the shutdown.
The Coast Guard took the tip sheet down from its Coast Guard Support Program website after it was reported on by the Post, telling the paper the tips do not “reflect the Coast Guard’s current efforts to support our workforce during this lapse in appropriations.” Across the federal government there are 350,000 workers currently at home on furlough and 420,000 working unpaid with assurances they’ll be paid retroactively.