A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Some federal employees affected by government shutdown can receive unemployment benefits

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

Federal employees who live in Kentucky and have been affected by the partial government shutdown, which has now lasted four weeks, could be eligible for unemployment benefits, according to the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

Cabinet Spokesperson Danielle N. Jones says claim eligibility is decided on a case-by-case basis and describes the requirements for those still on the job, and wish to claim unemployment. 

“Federal employees who are working without pay must report the number of hours worked and anticipated gross wages each week,” he said.

Once things return to normal, she cautions, “Federal employees who receive unemployment compensation during the federal government ends, may be required to repay the benefits, upon receipt of back pay award.”

According to Governing.com, there were 22,495 civilian federal employees in Kentucky in 2018. 

 Most of these civilian employees, along with all military (which accounts for a major portion of federal employment), are still on the job, because appropriations bills covering several agencies have already been signed.

They include funding for the departments of Education, Energy, Defense, Health and Human Services, Labor, and Veterans Affairs, among others. Several independent agencies not reliant on federal funding are also unscathed, such as the Postal Service and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Governing.com says 6,453, or 28.7 percent of the civilian employees, are either furloughed or working without pay since they work for agencies without signed appropriations bills.

Jones said federal employees impacted by the government shutdown may apply for unemployment insurance benefits online at www.kcc.ky.gov, or by calling (502) 875-0442.

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