Furloughed federal workers in TN could qualify for unemployment benefits
Furloughed federal workers in Tennessee could qualify for unemployment benefits. However, if they are provided with back pay when the government reopens, they will have to repay any benefits they receive.
The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce (TDLWD) said 25,000 Tennesseans are being affected by the partial government shutdown.
The TDLWD manages the federally funded unemployment insurance program. A spokesperson said the state received its appropriation for the program before the shutdown began and unemployed Tennesseans are still receiving benefits.
"Depending on the length of the shutdown, many Tennesseans who work for the federal government may qualify to collect unemployment benefits," a TDLWD spokesperson explained.
Furloughed workers currently meet the U.S. Department of Labor's requirements to receive unemployment benefits because they are free to work.
Federal workers who are still on the job but not being paid are not eligible because they are not able to work.
If a furloughed worker's application for benefits is approved, they will have to certify online each week that they are available to work. They must also search for jobs online.
The TDLWD said it is important to remember that the first week someone files for benefits is considered their waiting week, which means they will not receive any money. The waiting week will be paid after the person completes four consecutive weeks of certifying for benefits.
"During the application process, the state must verify wages with the employer. Since these are federal employees, the shutdown could cause a delay in the verification process. The state has up to 21 days to approve or deny a claim for unemployment benefits," the spokesperson added.
If approved, furloughed workers will be able to receive up to $275 a week. That money is subject to federal income taxes.
To apply or learn more, visit the state's workforce department website.