This blog post was updated Jan. 29, 2019
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 be required to disclose your payment information to the department and repay any unemployment insurance benefits you collect during that time.
- You are required to seek work and make at least two job contacts per week.
Q. Once the shutdown is over, if the federal government back pays us for our time away from work, is this income reportable? If so, how should I report my income?
A. Yes. If you receive your back pay, call us at (208) 332-8942 and let us know.
Q. Once the shutdown is over, if the federal government back pays us for our time away from work, do I have to repay benefits?
A. Yes. For unemployment insurance purposes, any back pay you receive from the federal government is reportable income for the weeks you are furloughed and will result in an overpayment of benefits. Please be aware that unpaid overpayments accrue interest of about 11 percent after 30 days from the overpayment establishment. If you have an outstanding overpayment balance, the department will seize your state tax refund, potentially delaying your refund. If your overpayment balance exceeds $350, you must contact us at (208) 332-3842 to set up a repayment agreement that does not exceed three months to avoid a lien being filed against you.