13 Freebies And Deals For Furloughed Government Workers

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If you’ve been affected by the government shutdown, there is no doubt you have a lot on your mind. Fortunately, some businesses are looking to help by offering up freebies and deals to furloughed government employees. Not only can they help if money is a bit tight, but hopefully some free or cheap goodies can take your mind off your worries for a bit.

Here are some of the best national freebies and deals we were able to find, though you may want to check local restaurants and other businesses in your area to see if there are more deals near you. If you can’t take advantage of these deals yourself, share them with someone else who is affected by the shutdown.

TSA Officials And Delta Introduce Automated Security Screening Lanes At LaGuardia Airport
Getty Images | Spencer Platt


If you have DIRECTV, you can make sure you don’t lose television service by using one of their flexible payment options.


Now through Jan. 27, participating Fazoli’s locations are offering furloughed government employees a free pizza baked spaghetti with the purchase of a drink. All you have to do is show a valid government ID to receive the free food.

Great Harvest Bread Co.

You can find a “shutdown shelf” full of free bread for federal workers at more than 50 Great Harvest Bread Co. locations nationwide. The idea started at a Great Harvest franchise in Kansas, but has since spread across the country.

Harlem Globetrotters

The best way to take your mind off the shutdown is to find some entertainment. The Harlem Globetrotters are giving it away for free to any U.S. government employee on furlough. All you have to do is show your valid government ID at your local box office and you’ll get two free tickets to a Harlem Globetrotter game in North America, while supplies last. Quantities are limited and seat locations vary by venue.

harlem globetrotters photo
Getty Images | Alberto E. Rodriguez


If you need any notarizations done, Notarize is offering the service for free to all federal employees during the shutdown. You must sign up for a Notarize account with your .gov email address to qualify.

Potbelly Sandwich Shop

You can to bring a friend — or just a big appetite — for this deal at Potbelly Sandwich Shop. Just show your federal government ID and score a buy one get one free sandwich deal between Jan. 23 and Jan. 27.

Punch Bowl Social

There are only 15 Punch Bowl Social locations nationwide, but if there is one near you, you can get a 25-percent discount on food, beverages and games with a valid government ID. The deal appears to be nationwide, but it would be best to check with your local location before heading out.

Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

This isn’t a nationwide deal, but if you’re not working and Cleveland isn’t too far away, furloughed government employees and up to one guest can get free admission to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. If you’re not in Cleveland, check with your local museums or art institutes to see if they’re offering any discounts.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Flickr | Sam Howzit

Romano’s Macaroni Grill

From now until the government shutdown ends (or Jan. 31, whichever happens first), government employees can receive one free Mom’s Ricotta Meatballs and Spaghetti entrée at Romano’s Macaroni Grill. The deal is good at 84 locations nationwide, though it is not valid at international or airport locations. All you have to do is show your valid government ID at your local restaurant any day between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Rosetta Stone

This deal from Rosetta Stone is perfect if you’re sitting at home, waiting to get back to work. Now through Jan. 31, furloughed government employees can get a free three-month standard Rosetta Stone online subscription for any of their available languages. To get the deal, just send an email with your name and the name of the government department or agency you work for.

Sky Zone

If you’re wanting to take your mind off things, participating Sky Zone Trampoline Park locations are offering furloughed federal government employees or those currently without pay 60 minutes of free play every Tuesday through Thursday in January. You can even bring up to three immediate family members! You will need a valid government ID and Sky Zone socks, but you can reuse SkySocks from previous visits or buy them when you head to Sky Zone.

Tanger Outlets

Now through Jan. 28, some government workers affected by the shutdown can get a free $20 gift card from Tanger Outlets with a federal ID. You will need to work in one of the following departments to be eligible for the deal: Department of State, Treasury, Justice, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, EPA, Transportation, NASA or Homeland Security. Tanger Outlets is also offering coupons for government employees.

Wireless Providers

If you’re a government employee affected by the shutdown and have AT&TSprintT-Mobile or Verizon, you are eligible for flexible payment options or short-term account assistance. The payment options are good toward cell phones, television and internet. You will need to contact your local provider for more details.

cell phone photo
Getty Images | Tomohiro Ohsumi

Will you or someone you know be taking advantage of these discounts and freebies?