NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Four weeks into the partial government shutdown, more furloughed federal workers in Tennessee are applying for unemployment benefits, according to the state's Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
The state processed 400 claims for impacted federal employees from the day the shutdown started through January 8. Since then, that number has more than doubled to nearly 900.
Not every impacted federal worker qualifies for unemployment. Those that are working without pay are not eligible, but many of those who are furloughed are because they are willing and available to work.
If furloughed workers are approved, they must certify online every week that they are available to work, but they do not have to do the usual required weekly online job searches because they part of a temporary layoff.
If they receive unemployment benefits, which in Tennessee is up to $275 a week, they may have to pay it back once the shutdown ends.
President Donald Trump signed a bill that will provide federal employees back wages once the shutdown ends. According to U.S. Dept. of Labor requirements, anyone who receives unemployment benefits while furloughed will be required to repay the state of Tennessee the amount of money they received or risk being in fraud overpayment.
If you think you are qualified, you can apply here. If you have questions, you can also call TDLWD at 844-224-5818 or use the live chat function on tn.gov/workforce Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. CT.
Even if you do apply and are approved, it could take several weeks before you get a check. The first week someone applies is considered their waiting week, so the earliest you could receive payment would be in two weeks. With the high number of claims being processes, along with the government shutdown, it could take up to three weeks to determine if a person is qualified to receive benefits..