Question: I am a federal worker who has been furloughed. Am I eligible for unemployment?
Answer: Yes. You are considered laid off due to lack of work and you need to meet personal and monetary eligibility. However as a federal employee, you also need to be aware of several unintended consequences of applying for unemployment insurance benefits.
Before you apply, please consider the following:
- You will not receive your first unemployment insurance payment for approximately three weeks after you file for benefits.
- If the federal government compensates you or back pays you for the work you missed during the furlough (as it has historically), you will receive an overpayment notice and you will be required to repay any unemployment insurance benefits you collect during that time.
- Unemployment insurance overpayment collections are very aggressive. Your state and federal tax returns will be intercepted as payment if you fail to repay any benefits owed.
Question: What if I am one of the “essential” federal workers who are required to continue to work full time with no pay?
A: You would not be eligible for benefits if you are working full time, regardless of pay. Full time is normally defined as 40 hours per week.