Federal Government Shutdown
Updated: October 4, 2013
Due to the budget impasse in Washington D.C., the Federal Government partially shut down its services throughout the country. At this time, there is no impact to any of the EDD’s services, and federal funds to pay federal unemployment extension benefits and help provide regular state unemployment benefits will continue. Our Unemployment Insurance (UI) program could see an increase in claim activity due to out-of-work federal employees applying for benefits.
Federal Employees in California
Are federal workers impacted by the shutdown eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits?
Like any other employee covered by the UI program, if they’ve lost work through no fault of their own they could very well be eligible for benefits. All claims have to be evaluated on a case by case basis including a review of earnings, separation reasons, and availability for work to ensure claimants meet all eligibility criteria. It is estimated that there are a maximum of 245,000 federal workers in California potentially impacted by the federal government shutdown.
Can federal workers file for unemployment benefits?
- Anyone who is unemployed or working less than full-time may file for unemployment benefits. To approve and establish that claim, the EDD has to verify wages earned and the reason the individual is no longer working.
- You must have earned sufficient wages over the last 18 months to establish a claim. Access Unemployment Insurance (File Claims – Payment Information – General Information) for information about wages needed to establish a claim.
- If you are unsure about your potential eligibility, you should apply for a claim and the EDD will evaluate the information you provide and advise you if you are eligible to establish a claim.
How do federal workers file for unemployment benefits?
- Federal civilian workers are encouraged to use our paper application to apply for benefits.
- You may also apply by phone. Keep in mind that due to reduced federal funding, the EDD is short-staffed. Our representatives can only be available to take calls from unemployed workers from 8 a.m. to 12 noon, Monday through Friday, except state holidays.
- If you were given a Standard Form-8 or Standard Form-50 by your Federal employer, please have the form available when you apply for an unemployment claim. You can help us process your application more quickly if you can provide us your department or agency’s correct name and payroll address, and if, available, the agency’s Federal Identification Code.
- You can also help us process your application for benefits more quickly if you can provide proof of your wages for the last 18 months. We may have to require you to provide that information to process your application and, if so, will mail you a separate request. The reason is that we may have a difficult time getting the needed information from your employer, the federal government, since workers who could provide us such information may be furloughed.
How long could it take to establish an unemployment claim and receive benefits?
- It usually takes about three weeks from the time we receive an application for a claim until we can issue a first payment if the individual is found eligible. You should also know that any new claimant is not eligible for payment for the first week of unemployment since that must be served as one-week waiting period.
- We also want to make sure you know that processing an unemployment claim for a federal government employee is a more time-consuming process, which could take longer if the shutdown affects our ability to get needed wage data from your government employer.
- Finally, we do want to make you aware that if you are found eligible for benefits and receive such benefits, it’s possible that those funds could be considered an overpayment if later the federal government does issue back pay for the time you were off work.
Unemployment Insurance Information for all California Claimants
Will there be money available to pay benefits?
The EDD has been informed by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) that the federal government will continue to pay the federal extensions of unemployment benefits after someone runs out of their regular state-provided benefits. In addition, California and other states continue to rely on a federal loan to help cover the cost of those initial state-provided benefits, and that loan assistance will also continue. That means regular unemployment benefits will continue to be paid as well.
Will there be an impact on EDD’s ability to provide UI services and local job search assistance since those rely on federal funds?
- As far as UI operations, the EDD does have sufficient UI administration funds currently available to continue operating for at least a month. A prolonged shutdown would prove problematic.
- In addition, job search and training assistance services provided through the state’s network of America’s Job Centers of California (AJCC – formerly known as One Stop Career Centers) could be impacted. We encourage customers to monitor the AJCC web page for updates on potential reduced hours.