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Did the Government Shutdown Your Unemployment Benefits?

Wenzel Fenton Cabassa P.A. - Tampa Office

October 16, 2013

“Save us from the madness. Deliver us from the hypocrisy of attempting to sound reasonable while being unreasonable. Remove the burdens of those who are the collateral damage of this government shutdown, transforming negatives into positives.”

—   Senate Chaplain Barry Black, opening prayer on the Senate floor, Oct. 3

Madness is right. Americans are suffering at the hands of the government, and, from the sounds of it, there doesn’t appear to be much relief in sight.

Since the government shutdown began on October 1st, 2013, approximately 800,000 of 2 million federal employees were furloughed. Leaving many employees without a paycheck and in financial distress.

But, for those asked not to report to work due to the shutdown, there is a silver lining.

Unemployment Benefits During A Government Shutdown

Were you a federal employee who was furloughed because of the government shutdown?

Don’t know how you’re going to pay you bills and need help during these tough financial times?

There’s help. You can apply for unemployment benefits.

Just like other employers, the federal government pays money for unemployment insurance - allowing for unemployment benefits. However, there are some guidelines and information you will need before applying.

How to File for Unemployment Benefits

Many people who’ve found themselves unemployed are usually stressed and left questioning, “When will I see my next paycheck?”. And, although the situations stemming from a government shutdown are different for furloughed federal employees, this is one common question they share.

Luckily, for those who have received the unexpected news that they’re not to return to work due to the government shutdown, unemployment benefits are available.

So, what do you need to get the ball rolling?

Here’s what you will need to know and have prepared when applying for unemployment benefits.
  • In some states, there is a one-week waiting period to be eligible for benefits
  • In some states, you can file for eligibility either weekly or biweekly.
  • You must be available and able to work, although, dependent upon state law, furloughed employees may not be required to actively look for employment
Also, be prepared and have the following,
  • Department or agency name
  • Department or agency payroll address
  • Department of agency Federal Identification Code, if available
  • Standard Form 8 (SF-8)
  • Standard Form 50 (SF-50)
  • Earnings and Leave Statement
  • W-2 Form
Having this information will make the filing process much easier for you.

Also, keep in mind that you can apply for unemployment benefits online, over the phone or in person.

For more information on what you need to file unemployment benefits, visit http://www.dol.gov/sequestration/ucfe.pdf.

Not a federal employee, but found yourself unemployed through no fault of your own? Need to know how to file for unemployment benefits? We’ve offered you some assistance on what you need to do, How to File for Unemployment and Get It.

And at Wenzel Fenton Cabassa P.A., we understand how difficult being unemployed can be. We’re here to help you and fight for the settlement you deserve. If you were wrongfully terminated, contact us and schedule a free consultation today.


The views expressed in this document are solely the views of the author and not Martindale-Hubbell. This document is intended for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for consultation with a licensed legal professional in a particular case or circumstance.

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