February 23, 2011 at 4:57 pm #123961
These are some of the questions I have heard recently surrounding the possible Government shutdown.
I can apply for unemployment after 7 days. If I did collect unemployment and Congress decided to reimburse the employees, I would then have to reimburse the state. So what happens if I did not apply for unemployment and Congress did not reimburse us…….I guess I will just hope for a short shutdown.
But wouldn’t it be interesting if every employee filed for unemployment….I’m just sayin….
I have heard a lot of concern regarding our health insurance coverage as well.
February 25, 2011 at 5:39 pm #124005
Since a furlough is a form of “non-pay status” or LWOP, I would assume that our health insurance coverage would cease because we would not be putting anything into it while on furlough. A furlough would also affect retirement as well if you were not given back pay for the time you were at home.
As for unemployment, I work for DHS so I have a very strong feeling that if there is a shutdown I’ll be reporting to work regardless.
February 25, 2011 at 6:24 pm #124003
I was concerned about health benefits, too. I found this on OPM’s website:
For health benefits, enrollment continues for no more than 365 days in a nonpay status. The nonpay status may be continuous or broken by periods of less than four consecutive months in a pay status (5 CFR 890.303(e)). The Government contribution continues while employees are in a nonpay status. The Government also is responsible for advancing from salary the employee share as well. The employee can choose between paying the agency directly on a current basis or having the premiums accumulate and be withheld from his or her pay upon returning to duty.
There is a lot more info on their webpage: http://www.opm.gov/furlough/furlough.asp
February 25, 2011 at 6:42 pm #124001
Thanks. I could not see health/dental care nor a clearance laps.
I’m kinda suprised about the unemployment. Virginia has a cap on weekly unemployment checks. It used to be $412 a week – but that was decades ago. Just a heads up on what was an eye opener for me.
March 23, 2011 at 7:02 pm #123999
I applied for unemployment in the 1995 shutdown. The checks showed up the week I went back to work. I didn’t send them back until we were told we would get paid. I didn’t cash them either. Some of my coworkers did cash theirs and had to pay the State back.
The question to ask when deciding to apply for unemployment is ‘what is the more costly mistake’ If you apply right away and end up having to return the money to the State, that’s not too difficult. But if we end up not being reimbursed for the furlough time, at least you are covered for as much time as you can be. I’m going to apply for unemployment the day we are sent home. The weekly payment is capped, so every bit will help when we don’t get back pay this time.
I hope every singe furloughed Federal employee applies for unemployment. Think what that would do to the unemployment rate.
March 27, 2011 at 4:06 pm #123997
I will apply for unemployment the same day I am sent home. I hope everyone who is furloughed does the same.
April 6, 2011 at 5:54 pm #123995
For colorado, Furloughed employees would be in the ‘Job Attached’ Status, according to this information from the Colorado website http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/CDLE-UnempBenefits/CDLE/1251574101437
Job Attached or Union Attached
“You can be attached to a job or to a union hall. If you are attached, you do not have to look for work or register with a workforce center. You are attached to a job if the employer is going to bring you back to work within 26 weeks after your last day of work. You are attached to a union hall if you get jobs through the union. Another way to be job-attached is to be attached to a new job. If a job is going to begin within two weeks, you do not have to look for work for the two weeks before you begin the job. Call the Customer Contact Center to be job-attached to a new job.
Do not forget to request payment on CUBLine Online or CUBLine. You must also meet all the other requirements of the law (see Your Guide to Unemployment and Getting Paid Benefits).”
April 7, 2011 at 1:00 pm #123993
Health coverage would continue. However, according to OPM, vision/dental/longterm disability would all come to a halt. No claims for dates during a furlough would be paid from FSAFEDS. I was going to have bridgework start next week. Needless to say, between the dental and the FSAFEDS issue, this will wait even though I will have to take sick days for it. Apparently, there is a way to make payments ourselves to keep them in force.
April 7, 2011 at 1:07 pm #123991
I am with you. I think we should all apply. I doubt we will reimbursed this go ’round.
April 7, 2011 at 1:18 pm #123989
It’s my understanding that you should be able to file right away – but your state may not pay for the first week (this is called the waiting week)
If you collect unemployment, and then they pay you backpay – the unemployment office would want it back, but you’d get much more cash from the backpay than you would the unemployment check so it should balance out in the end.
April 7, 2011 at 1:34 pm #123987
We will continue to be covered by FEHB durng the furlough, but the optional dental/vision is questionable. OPM is doing a great job putting out guidance – http://www.opm.gov/furlough2011/. Also FedNewsRadio and GovExec are also exceptional sources of good information.
Applying for unemployment is exactly what those who are attacking us want to do to show how greedy Federal workers are. They aren’t willing to sacrifice like the rest of Americans. I am not going to prove them right and refuse to apply for unemployment.
Instead, I’m going to volunteer in my community. Coincidentally, next week is National Volunteer Week.
April 7, 2011 at 1:37 pm #123985
I think everbody should apply for unemployment at 12:01 AM Saturday morning. Most states have online unemployment applications, so this is do-able. Just think if 800,000 furloughed Feds apply to the unemployment systems of the 50 states. We will clog their systems. Which will cause an outcry from the states. Not to mention if we get retro-pay, they will have a lot of work backing us out of the system too. We can make this extremely painful for lots of folks, to the extent that they won’t want to do this again soon. This will also give us a louder voice at the ballot box. And it might just encourage the states and local officials to stand up to the trilateral bohemoth of the house, Senate and the Whitehouse.
Here’s my state’s unemployment website. I haven’t read through it yet. But I will be….
April 7, 2011 at 4:34 pm #123983
ABSOLUTELY. Here’s my post from “Shutdown News- The Latest & What You’ve Heard”.
Unite, and care for yourself. Every Federal employee must file for unemployment ASAP if a shut down occurs. Rules differ in each state, know them and file. What is the same across all states, is that rising unemployment numbers is something politicians pay attention to. They also mean additional expenses for the states, again interesting for local, state, and national politicians and media. There is no concern for Feds as pawns in this ‘debate’. Exercising your right to unemployment is also protection- don’t assume you shouldn’t because it will be a short shut down. You may need the money, and we need a way to show how this affects the country beyond just crying about our particular programs. Some care about your program, some don’t, nobody seems to care about the Federal work force. Everyone cares about unemployment numbers, and costs.
Speak up, protect yourself and apply. You may need the money if this goes on, and depending on the rules in your state, you may not be able to recoup benefits for the first weeks of a shutdown if you don’t apply promptly.
April 7, 2011 at 5:00 pm #123981
The state of Maryland is bracing for the Fed shutdown increase in unemployment claims:
April 7, 2011 at 5:20 pm #123979
Question: If you are an “essential/expected” federal employee, can you still apply for unemployment? I’m assuming the answer is no, but I figured I’d ask anyway.
April 7, 2011 at 5:28 pm #123977
If you keep working, then your pay doesn’t stop – thus you’re ineligible for unemployment.
April 7, 2011 at 5:33 pm #123975
Just as I thought. Thanks Chris.
April 7, 2011 at 6:58 pm #123973
I just received this information in a “FAQ” attachment from the Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis
Employee enrollment in the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) progam continues for up to 365 days in an emergency non-pay status. Government contributions to FEHB will continue while the suspension of operations is in effect. The Department is responsible for forwarding the employee’s share of the premiums to the health care provider. The employee’s share will then be deducted from his or her pay upon resumption of normal Departmental operations.
Employees in non-pay status will have their Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) frozen. Once normal DOL operations resume, their accounts will be reactivsated and claims can be filed.
Employees may seek outside employment during a suspension of operations, as long as the outside work does not conflict with an employee’s official position.
While on furlough, employees may become eligible for unemployment compensation. State unemployment compensation requirements difer; typically unemployment compensation is available to individuals who have been in a non-pay status for seven or more consectutive days and meet other eligibility requirements.
If you are furloughed, you may have the right to appeal the furlough decision to the Merit Systems Protection Board. If you wish to appeal to the MSPB, you must file such appeal within 30 calendar days after the effective date of your furlough action.
April 7, 2011 at 7:04 pm #123971
I’m totally applying for unemployment. I will freelance, day labor, apply at McDonald’s if I have to.
The most important thing I’ll do? Remember what happened and vote.
Bye bye incumbents!
April 7, 2011 at 7:24 pm #123969
R J ParryParticipant
I for one will be filing in VA for unemployment. This can be done online. The local office put the weekly cap at $378 per week. My only concern is if the Federal Government will process the payments to VA covering all of us that are entitled to unemployment.
April 8, 2011 at 12:23 pm #123967
This part of the FAQ that Tom posted is interesting:
*** Employees may seek outside employment during a suspension of operations, as long as the outside work does not conflict with an employee’s official position. ***
Speaking (unfortunately) from experience, and as I’m sure most of you know already, when you apply for unemployment you’re actually obligated to look for a job. In Virginia you have to submit a weekly report (it can be done online), listing the contact information for potential employers whom you have contacted.
April 8, 2011 at 8:11 pm #123965
In 1995, there was little info or encouragement to file for unemployment. The Fed. furlough lasted 3 weeks. Eventually we were paid, but there were no assurances on that point – until it was announced as a solution. This time, if your Department or Agency has given you info on filing, you might want to consider doing so.
April 8, 2011 at 9:45 pm #123963
The State of Colorado made a special page and form for furloughed feds: http://tinyurl.com/3slmwl3
(Updated April 7, 2011)
Overview of Federal Furlough
To access an overview of the federal furlough and related frequently asked questions, visit the Office of Personnel Management’s Guidance and Information on Furlough Web page.
Furloughed Federal Workers in Colorado
Federal workers in Colorado are expected to learn soon whether they will be furloughed as a result of a possible federal government shutdown. If that shutdown occurs, affected workers would likely be eligible to receive unemployment insurance benefits while they are out of work.
We are currently preparing an online application for federal workers to sign up for unemployment. A link to the Federal Furlough Application will be made available when we receive official notification of the government shutdown. Furloughed federal workers in Colorado will not be able to file over the phone.
Affected contractors or suppliers for the federal government must use the regular File for Unemployment application.
We do not have any additional information available at this time. This Web page will be updated with additional information as it becomes available.”
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