Albuquerque-Metro

Free admission, assistance offered to federal employees across New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - Around 800,000 federal employees have been furloughed or working without pay since Dec. 21. As the second-longest government shutdown in history continues, below is some helpful information and perks for New Mexicans affected by the shutdown. 

PNM

PNM officials say they are offering help to federal employees affected by the shutdown to make sure their lights stay on.

The company says they realize this can be a scary situation, and say they won't be shutting off the affected families electricity if they're already behind on their bills.

All you need to do is provide PNM a copy of your furlough letter.

There are also options for those federal employees not behind on their bill payments.

PNM says they're willing to talk to families who are behind on paying their bills to figure out an arrangement to get them back on track.

If this affects you, call 888-DIAL-PNM.

Click here for additional PNM information.

New Mexico Gas Company

If federal employees are unable to make their gas payments, they can go on a six-month payment plan to allow them time to pay their bill. Customers are also encouraged to call the company to discuss arrangements.

They're offering protection to federal employees through March 15 and are also encouraging those impacted to call them and discuss arrangements.

Click here for contact information.

Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority

Local federal workers furloughed during the ongoing partial government shut-down will be allowed to defer their water bill payments without penalty while they are out of work, Water Authority administrators have announced.

For qualifying furloughed workers, a moratorium will be imposed for turn-offs on delinquent accounts, and late fees incurred during the furlough period will be waived.

Payment plans are also available, which will allow furloughed workers to “catch up” on their payments when the shutdown ends.

To qualify, furloughed employees must present their furlough letter at one of the Water Authority’s two customer service/payment centers: the downtown customer service office (first floor of the City/County Government Center at One Civic Plaza NW) or at the Northwest Service Area office at 4700 Irving Blvd. NW.

For more information, furloughed federal employees can call 842-WATR (9287) and press “0” to speak to a customer service representative.

Rio Rancho Utilities Payment Deferral

The City of Rio Rancho has announced that federal workers furloughed during the government shutdown are allowed to defer their water/wastewater bill payments, without penalty, while they are out of work.

In order to qualify, workers must present their furlough letter in person at the City of Rio Rancho Utilities Department at City Hall, Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

For those who qualify, a moratorium will be imposed for turn-offs on delinquent accounts, and late fees incurred during the furlough period will be waived. Once the shut-down ends, payment plans will be available to allow furloughed workers time to catch up on their payments.

For more information about the payment deferral, contact the Utilities Department at 891-5020 during regular business hours.

SNAP Benefits

The shutdown has resulted in the SNAP program not receiving funds beyond January 31. The HSD is asking SNAP families supposed to receive January benefits to submit their renewal by January 15 in order to receive February benefits.

There are several ways to renew SNAP benefits:

Storehouse New Mexico 

Storehouse New Mexico is ready to help families affected by the federal government shutdown. All they need o bring is a photo ID for adults and birth certificates for minors. 

Storehouse New Mexico is located at 106 Broadway Blvd SE, in downtown Albuquerque. A full calendar is available at www.StorehouseNM.org. The organization is also in need of donations and volunteers.

MVD Express

For all federal and contract workers affected by the current government shutdown, MVD Express will waive its convenience fee on vehicle registration renewal and/or driver's license renewal services for federal employees and their dependents until the shutdown concludes. 

MVD Express has a total of 11 locations across New Mexico with six offices in Albuquerque and one each in Rio Rancho, Santa Fe, Las Cruces, Roswell and Alamogordo. For appointments, location details and hours of operation, please visit mvdexpress.com

Assistance Programs

Bank of America: The bank's Client Assistance Program is offering personalized financial assistance and can be reached at 844-219-0690.

Navy Federal Credit Union: Impacted union members who have direct deposit of their government pay may be eligible for interest-free loans. Government contractors may be eligible if their direct deposit is received directly from the federal government and will be impacted by a government shutdown. 

Nusenda Credit Union: Several financial options are available to help both new and existing Nusenda members affected by this partial shutdown such as; Member Assistance Loans, Loan Payment Extensions, Savings-Secured Loans, and Free tools for members and the public at-large that help manage spending and identify areas to assist in reducing expenses.

U.S. Eagle Federal Credit Union: In response to the prolonged shutdown of the Federal government, U.S. Eagle Federal Credit Union has unveiled a loan to help impacted Federal government employees, offering a variety of options for varying needs of financial assistance.  

U.S. Employees Credit Union: Impacted union members who have direct deposit of their government pay may be eligible for interest-free loans. According to its website, the Government Shutdown Loan is to be “repaid in 60 days or when the government processes back pay, whichever is sooner.”

Wells Fargo: The bank says it "will work with individuals and business banking customers whose income is disrupted as a result of the shutdown." Customers should call 1-800-TO-WELLS, or the number on their credit card, debit card or statement for assistance, or visit any Wells Fargo branch. Mortgage, loan, and credit customers may qualify for forbearance or other payment assistance programs based on their individual circumstances, the company posted on its website.

Wireless Providers

Verizon: The company announced flexible payment options and a "Promise to Pay" program that can be set up in the My Verizon app or website. Further assistance is available by calling 866-266-1445.

AT&T: Customers affected by the shutdown are eligible for flexible payment options to keep service including cellphones, television and internet running. Make payment arrangements online at www.att.com.

Sprint: "Our Care reps will coordinate with qualified customers and our financial team to find a payment option that works and keep your service uninterrupted during the government shutdown," Sprint said in a statement. Impacted customers should call 888-211-4727 or do an online chat at www.sprint.com.

T-Mobile: Short-term account assistance can be tailored to meet the needs of customers who are federal workers, T-Mobile said, noting options include payment deferral and "flexible payment options" that allow customers to spread their service payments over time." The company is also offering support to government account customers. Customers can call T-Mobile Customer Care to discuss options at 611 from a T-Mobile device or 877-746-0909 from any phone. 

Cultural Offerings 

  • The Albuquerque BioPark, the Albuquerque Museum, and the Balloon Museum will be offering free admission for federal employees and a guest. A federal ID is required.
  • Meow Wolf is offering free admission to employees, in addition to the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts in Santa Fe.
  • The IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts in Santa Fe is wanting to help those affected by the shutdown. Federal employees who present their photo ID or badge during the shutdown will get free admission for themselves as a guest.
  • Angel Fire Resort is offering free lift tickets Monday-Friday to furloughed federal workers. All you need is your furlough notice letter and your federal ID. 
  • Explora is offering free admission to furloughed federal employees. According to Explora's Facebook page, all you need to do is mention that you are on government furlough and enjoy FREE Admission for up to 4 people for the day. All additional guests will be charged general admission prices.
  •  New Mexico Highlands University is offering a free online geographic information systems class to furloughed federal employees beginning Jan. 16. The eight-week class is called Introduction to Geospatial Technology. 
  • New Mexico Museums and Historic Sites has announced that during the government shutdown they are offering free admission to federal employees and their families. Offer is valid to an federal employee with photo identification and their family.

Albuquerque Public School Meals

Furloughed employees can now apply for reduced-price or free meals by filling out an online application. Click here for the application.

Dining

McDonalds locations in Roswell and Artesia will give affected employees a meal a day. Furloughed employees are asked to bring in a check stub showing $0 as their pay, and a team member will date the check for each day the come in. Free meals will continue for the foreseeable future.

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