Update: OPM has walked back some of the information in these letters after a lot of negative feedback, and the agency has issued a statement about the changes. See OPM Says It ‘Inadvertently’ Posted Sample Letters Suggesting Feds Barter with Landlords for details.
The Office of Personnel Management has provided letter templates federal employees can use if needed when dealing with creditors and mortgage companies during the partial government shutdown. The letters are provided in the event that federal employees might have debt payments on which they get behind.
OPM stressed, however, that it cannot provide legal advice to federal employees. “If you need legal advice, please consult with your personal attorney,” wrote the agency.
OPM also suggested that federal employees talk to their landlords or creditors before simply sending a letter as this is likely a more effective approach.
“Just sending a letter may not be very effective as it will take a fair amount of time to get to the individual who needs to see it, if at all. Speaking with your creditors will enable you to work out the details of any payment plan that you can later confirm with your letter,” said OPM.
OPM also stressed saving copies of any correspondence with creditors or mortgage companies and that it may be best to send letters via certified mail to verify they are received.
The document includes three sample letters: one to creditors, one for a mortgage company, and one for a landlord.
Update: OPM has removed the document from its website.