Kennard Law, P.C.
Los Abogados y Asistentes Hablan Español
map & directions

Can federal employees get unemployment during the shutdown?

The partial government shutdown has now entered its second month. During this time, more than 800,000 federal government workers have had to survive without a paycheck.

This would represent an enormous financial hurdle for almost anyone. The majority of Americans live paycheck to paycheck--and 40 percent of the population has less than $400 in savings, in case of emergency. But for some federal employees, the financial strain is greater still--because they're also ineligible for unemployment benefits.

Unemployment prerequisites

To file an unemployment claim, the U.S. Department of Labor requires that two conditions be met:

  • You are out of work and
  • You are not getting paid.

For the half a million furloughed employees, their situation meets these criteria. However, for the more than 300,000 employees who are being forced to work without pay, they are out of luck. Because they are technically working--albeit for free--they do not qualify for federal unemployment benefits.

Effects of backpay

Last week, the administration passed legislation that will entitle furloughed employees to back pay--once the shutdown ends. (Previously, back pay was only guaranteed for the federal employees who have continued to work during the shutdown.)

While this may come as welcome news to furloughed employees, it is also a bit of a double-edged sword. Because they will be receiving back pay for the time they were out of work, they will have to reimburse the government for any unemployment benefits they received during that time.

The partial government shutdown is putting immense strain on the federal workforce--and the community at large. We hope for a prompt resolution to this crisis.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Short Form Image

Take The First Step.

We’re here to help YOU. Tell us a little about your case below:

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Back to topBack to top