FAQs - Federal Shutdown

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The United States Congress and President Trump failed to reach a federal budget agreement by the required deadline of Saturday, December 22, 2018, so many federal government operations are now temporarily shut down. Federal government employees in California impacted by the shutdown who are out of work or not being paid through no fault of their own may be eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits.

At the direction of Governor Newsom, the California Employment Development Department (EDD) is streamlining the processing of claims for impacted federal workers and providing benefits to eligible employees who are furloughed or continue to work but do not collect a paycheck.

For more information, review the Unemployment Insurance Benefits for Federal Employees Impacted by the Federal Government Shutdown, DE 2338FED (PDF).

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Yes, federal employees who are out of work or not being paid through no fault of their own and meet other eligibility requirements may receive benefits. All claims have to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis where earnings and separation reasons are reviewed for eligibility.

Federal employees who do not have an existing UI claim may apply for benefits using the Unemployment Insurance Application (Federal Employee), DE 1101IBD (PDF), available for download on the EDD website or by phone toll-free at 1-855-327-7056, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 12 noon. The EDD established this number specifically for impacted federal workers. Employees who have been issued a SF 8 or SF 50 by their federal employer should have that form available when they call. Federal employees who have an existing claim are encouraged to reopen the claim by applying for benefits through UI OnlineSM.

Federal employees who are out of work or not being paid through no fault of their own may apply for benefits right away and the EDD will assess their eligibility for benefits. Normally, if they are found eligible for benefit payments, the effective start date of their claim is the Sunday of the week in which they file their claim. Claims may be backdated to the week when an employee was first impacted by the shutdown but no earlier than Sunday, December 23, 2018 (the first week of the shutdown). If an employee was not impacted by the shutdown until later, their clam start date is the Sunday of the week in which they are out of work or working without pay.

Weekly benefit amounts range from $40 to $450 depending on earnings and are available for up to 26 weeks. All claims are subject to a one-week unpaid waiting period which means eligible federal government workers will not receive unemployment benefits for the first week of their UI claim. View How Unemployment Insurance Benefits Are Computed, DE 8714AB, for more information.

After submitting a UI claim application, individuals must submit a continued certification and answer questions about their weekly eligibility for the first two weeks of their claim and continue to submit their certification every two weeks until they return to work full time. The fastest way to certify and be paid continued benefits is to use UI OnlineSM. They may also certify by phone using EDD Tele-Cert, or by completing and mailing the paper continued claim form that is sent to them. For eligible individuals, the EDD issues most benefit payments within 14 to 21 days after a claim is filed.

Employees furloughed due to the government shutdown must be ready and remain physically able and available to return to their federal jobs for each week of benefits that they request to receive them. This means that if their federal employer recalls them to return to work in any week or the government shutdown ends, they need to be physically able and available to return to work on the date requested by the employer. For those who are currently required to work without pay, they are considered available to work.

However, if the employee becomes sick, injured, or unavailable to work due to some other reason, the following provides information on how to answer questions on the continued certification:

  • An individual should answer “yes” for question 1, “Were you too sick or injured to work?” if they become ill or injured and cannot work. They must enter the number of days (1-7) that they are sick or injured for each week they are certifying for UI benefits.
  • For question 2, “Was there any reason (other than sickness or injury) that you could not have accepted full-time work each workday?,” employees who were available each week to return to work for their federal employer or who were working without pay should answer “no.” However, they should answer “yes” if there was a reason that prevented them from returning to work that week with their federal employer or they were requested to work without pay, but did not work. If they answer “yes,” they will be scheduled to a phone interview to determine eligibility for benefits.

Federal employees who are required to work without pay due to the government shutdown do not have to report work and/or earnings on the continued certification at this time because it is unknown if they will receive back pay.

When certifying for continued benefits, employees must answer “no” to question 6, “Did you work or earn any money, whether you were paid or not?” However, they must answer “yes” if they are working and earning wages from an employer other than the federal government. Employees should provide earnings and employment information for each week that they are certifying for benefits (questions 6a and 6b). If a federal employee reported work and wages for some weeks due to the government shutdown and did not receive benefits, they will need to contact the EDD to determine eligibility for those weeks.

Employees who receive UI benefits and also later receive a retroactive payment from their employer for the same time period, will be required to repay the UI benefits received. The EDD will mail a notice of overpayment to the employee.

Employees may repay the benefits by credit or debit card, by phone, online, or by mail, or set up a repayment plan to satisfy the overpayment.

Once employees return to full-time work, they should no longer submit their bi-weekly continued claim certifications and their claim will become inactive. If an employee is partially unemployed, they may continue to receive partial UI benefits by submitting their continued claim certifications and they must report their work and gross wages in the week in which they work.

Resources

For more information about the UI program and what to expect after you file, visit the following webpages:

Financial Resources

Banks and credit unions are offering zero percent interest loans to federal employees:

Visit the California Credit Union League website for a list of credit unions offering programs to those affected by the shutdown.