Furloughed federal workers who have trouble paying bills can send their creditors a letter from the government pleading for patience.
Some agencies are offering employees a cover letter that explains to creditors the consequences of the government shutdown. One letter distributed to workers at the Department of Health and Human Services asks creditors to "remain patient and show compassion" for employees affected by furloughs.
The letter suggests bill collectors make "feasible arrangements" with employees to help them meet their financial obligations. It provides a phone number creditors can call to verify a customer's employment status with the government.