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US Agency Offers Advice to Cash-Strapped Workers

FILE - A sign declares the National Archive is closed due to a partial federal government shutdown in Washington, Dec. 22, 2018.

As the partial shutdown of the U.S. federal government stretched into its sixth day with no end in sight, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is offering advice on how to deal with an interrupted cash flow.

Nearly 800,000 federal employees have either been furloughed or will be working without pay and facing potential problems paying bills and meeting other expenses.

"Feds, here are sample letters you may use as a guide when working with your creditors during this furlough," the agency said in a tweet Thursday, directing the reader to its website.

OPM suggested workers call their landlord, mortgage company, or creditor to speak with them about their situation. It said the call should then be followed up with a letter and offered samples of how it should be worded.

"I am a Federal employee who has recently been furloughed due to a lack of funding of my agency. Because of this, my income has been severely cut and I am unable to pay the entire cost of my monthly payments, along with my other expenses," reads one sample letter that OPM released.

The website made it clear that if furloughed workers need legal help, they are on their own. "If you need legal advice to assist you in any response to creditors, landlords or the like, consult with your personal attorney or contact your state or county bar association, many of which maintain lawyer referral services," it said.

With most lawmakers away from Washington for the holidays, the shutdown will likely stretch into the new year.

President Donald Trump has vowed to keep the government closed until he gets $5 billion to fund his border wall.

According to the American Federation of Government Employees, a union that represents federal employees, about 420,000 federal employees are working without pay, while 380,000 others have been told to stay home.