The current government shutdown is the longest in history, impacting approximately 800,000 Federal workers. Those workers have already missed one paycheck. The last paycheck these Federal employees received was issued in late December of 2018.

Furloughed Federal employees are eligible for unemployment benefits, while employees that are required to work despite going unpaid may have their claim denied by the state since they are technically working. On Wednesday, January 16th, the Department of Labor issued a letter to eight western states saying that Federal works that are currently working (but going unpaid) are not eligible for unemployment benefits. California Governor Gavin Newsom has pushed back against this and vowed to pay benefits to federal workers in California that are still working while going unpaid.

 

The United States Department of Labor has published a news release stating that in the week ending January 5th, initial claims for UI benefits filed by former Federal civilian employees had increased by 5,694 claims from the previous week ending December 29th. The week ending December 29th also saw an uptick of initial claims over the previous week, an increase of 2,123 claims. Naturally, if the shutdown continues, we will likely continue to see an increase of Federal workers filing unemployment claims.

 

When the government shutdown ends and the furloughed workers are reimbursed for the checks they are owed, they will have to return the unemployment benefits received.

 

You can view the DOL news release here: https://www.dol.gov/ui/data.pdf