So… I’m hoping that none of you need to visit me at the office anytime soon – because that is not awesome.
However, it’s better to face the beast prepared – so here’s what Federal Employees may want to know about filing for unemployment.
BIG DISCLAIMER: Unemployment is a state program and it varies where you live. Most of it’s the same, but your state may be different. Ask your state for details
ANOTHER BIG DISCLAIMER: In the past, federal workers received backpay for the shut-down – making unemployment really unnecessary – in the event of a shut-down, check with your bosses on if you’ll need to file or not. If you collect and they pay you backpay, we’ll probably ask for the money back.
So – here we go
Federal wages are different – the federal government doesn’t report wages to states like most employers. Instead, the unemployment office has to request them from the federal government. Your employer should give you a form called an SF-8. This sheet of paper pretty much tells us what agency code you have and what the nature of your unemployment is. (If it’s for a shut-down, we’ll always consider this “Laid-off/lack of work” We’d also call it really really stupid on Congress’ part, but that’s a different blog.) The SF-8 is really useful because without it, I have to go though a book to try to find out what code your agency is.
Because we have to request wages from the feds, your wages won’t show up right away. You may get a scary letter that says your not eligible because you haven’t worked in the last 18 months. Most states have something in their letters to show that we’ve requested your wages. As long as we have your agency as your last employer, you should be all set. Once your wages arrive, you’ll get another letter that states what your weekly benefit amount is.
Once your claim is up, you’ll need to certify for benefits. We’ll tell you what day you need to do this. In Illinois, it”s every two weeks. In DC, it’s every week. Again, refer to your own state’s information packet for your details.
Now, some states (like mine) make your serve a waiting week – so if the shutdown is for less than a week, you may not receive anything. I’m NOT 100% sure if DC does.
Most states allow you to file online. DC’s website is http://www.does.dc.gov/ If you work outside of DC, file in the state in which you work. Some states make federal workers come into an office because we need the SF-8, in that case be sure to bring in a photo ID and your social security card with you as well. (Since we’re all suspicious of identity theft and and all)
I’ll try to answer any questions best I can, but hopefully it won’t come to that.
*Final disclaimer: I work for the Illinois Department of Employment Security, but this post is not backed by IDES. This is all just general and you should consult with your local office for exact info.