The Washington Post

Program for needy feds running out of money

DC_earthquake_evacuation_2011 (1) (USDA photo by Lance Cheung)

FEEA, the Federal Employee Education & Assistance Fund, helps federal workers when they need money. Now it’s the one going broke.

FEEA provides no-interest emergency loans to federal workers. The number requesting loans is up sharply this year because of the unpaid furlough days that have been imposed on the workforce. The result — FEEA is running out of money.

“So far, we have been able to help all qualified applicants who have come through the door,” said FEEA Executive Director Steve Bauer, “but that may not be the case by the end of this month if we don’t receive significant new donations.”

The amount of money loaned and the number of feds assisted since the beginning of FEEA’s fiscal year in May, about three months, is already half the total from all of fiscal 2012. FEEA has loaned $350,000 to 600 workers since May 1 compared to $600,000 to 1,000 recipients in the last fiscal year. About two-thirds of the requests this year have been related to furloughs.

“There are hundreds of applications still in the pipeline, and we have already dipped into FEEA’s meager reserves in order to keep going,” Bauer said. “The combination of the financial crash and … years of no pay raises for feds has heavily impacted federal families and increased demand for FEEA’s emergency loan program year after year.  Widespread furloughs may, unfortunately, be the straw that breaks us.”

FEEA is seeking donations through its Web site, or by checks made out to “FEEA” and sent to: FEEA Headquarters, 3333 S. Wadsworth Blvd., Suite 300, Lakewood, CO 80227.

Twitter: @JoeDavidsonWP

Joe Davidson writes the Federal Diary, a column about federal government and workplace issues that celebrated its 80th birthday in November 2012. Davidson previously was an assistant city editor at The Washington Post and a Washington and foreign correspondent with The Wall Street Journal, where he covered federal agencies and political campaigns.



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