Some federal workers can receive unemployment during shutdown

Published: Jan. 7, 2019 at 6:32 PM CST
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The Kansas Department of Labor confirmed on Monday that some federal workers, furloughed during the ongoing government shutdown, have filed for unemployment benefits in the state.

However, not all federal workers are eligible for those benefits, according to Kansas Director of Unemployment, Brett Flachsbarth.

"The first week of the shutdown we were not seeing a lot of claims and we are starting to see a steady escalation in the last few weeks," Flachsbarth said. "The longer the furlough goes on, as we are seeing in this case, we start seeing a steady escalation of more and more federal claims. Likely because of individual employee's concerns about being able to pay their bills."

Primarily, only furloughed federal employees can receive unemployment from the state. Some, according to staffing experts, will turn elsewhere to search for temporary work to supplement their income.

Stephanie Marnell is the Operations Manager for staffing agency Apprentice Personnel. She says she hasn't seen any federal workers walk through the doors yet, but she anticipates that will change.

"Anytime now. People usually take stock of their situation, think about it, decide what route is best for them and then we would start hearing from them," Marnell said. "I do expect to, but so far i haven't had anybody 'say i am on furlough, can you help me.'"

If they do, Marnell says she's confident she can find work for anyone who needs it.

"It depends on your needs, your skill set and what you're actually looking for. With the low employment we're actually in need of laborers," she said.

Marnell says she can find temporary work lasting anywhere from a day to several months, and while the Department of Labor will only allow claims from certain federal workers, they do say it is on a case by case basis. They recommend anyone who thinks they may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits give them a call.

That number is 800-292-6333.