Sunday, October 1, 2023

Here’s how federal workers furloughed by the shutdown can still have income

(Southside Daily file photo/Courtesy of Pixabay)
(Southside Daily file photo/Courtesy of Pixabay)

Federal workers furloughed because of the partial government shutdown have an option to supplement some of their income while not being paid — they can file for unemployment benefits.

Furloughed federal workers need to apply for unemployment through the state where they work, according to the Virginia Employment Commission website.

Those furloughed workers in Virginia can apply for unemployment benefits on the VEC’s website.

The multi-step benefits claim process requires proof of wages earned in federal employment for the past 18 months, such as copies of a 2017 W-2 form or payroll check stubs, among other documentation.

The site warns user to “not mail proof of your federal wages to the VEC before you have completed and submitted your claim for unemployment benefits.”

Federal employees who are still working, but doing so without pay — including some service members in the Coast Guard — are not eligible for unemployment benefits, according to the VEC’s website.

Related story: Hampton Roads Coast Guard not getting paid — first time in U.S. History

A tip sheet published by the Coast Guard Support Program, an employee-assistance arm of the service commonly known as CG SUPRT, provided suggestions to those in the Coast Guard affected by the shutdown. Suggestions included “having a garage sale,” baby-sitting, or becoming a mystery shopper to supplement income lost during the shutdown.

President Donald Trump signed a bill Wednesday to provide back pay to federal workers once the government shutdown is lifted, according to The Associated Press.

According to the VEC website, “if you receive back pay from your agency to cover the layoff period, you must repay any unemployment benefits you received for that time.”

Depending on earnings, federal workers’ benefit amounts may range from a minimum of $60 per week for 12 weeks to a maximum of $378 a week for 26 weeks.

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