The Unemployment Insurance Division of the Montana Department of Labor and Industry has been serving a steady stream of federal employees furloughed during the government shutdown.

“We’re staying very busy,” said Shirley Rush, bureau chief for claims processing.

Federal employees are considered unemployed and are therefore eligible for unemployment insurance benefits during the shutdown, which has left non-essential federal government workers out of work since Oct. 1.

How much they’re paid and for how long is completely “driven by the individual circumstances,” Rush said Wednesday.

Once eligibility is determined, the payments are figured on previous “base year” figures that differ for each employee. Employers, including the federal government, pay into the system to provide the funds.

Each claimant must wait one week before receiving payments, meaning the first unemployment insurance checks for furloughed federal workers won’t be issued until early next week.

“Sunday is the soonest they can request the payment,” Rush said.

Rush emphasized that if the employees receive back pay after, they’ll have to repay the benefits.

“Some people choose to (file for unemployment insurance) and some don’t. Some are hoping they’ll be back to work in a week, others are covering their bases,” Rush said.

The Missoula Job Service hasn’t seen an influx of furloughed workers, George Palmer said.

“Most have had instruction that if they file they do it online,” Palmer said. “We see a few, of course, that don’t have access (to computers) and that come in and use ours.”

The Job Service doesn’t provide unemployment services, but does have several computers clients can use to sign up through the claims office in Helena.

The Department of Labor doesn’t yet have exact numbers how many furloughed Montana workers have filed for benefits, Rush said.

“Right now, it’s an ongoing thing,” Rush said. “It’s online and by phone, so it really wouldn’t be an accurate picture until it’s done on how many people have actually filed.”

Reporter Jenna Cederberg can be reached at 523-5241 or at jenna.cederberg@missoulian.com.

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(18) comments

Chuck Feney
Chuck Feney

The Coffee Break Never Ends For Federal Tapeworms

The Congress is at a budget impasse
'Cause Obamacare's a financial morass
Now they must close the parks
To create public sparks
So the feds can go sit on their @®$€.
_____________________
©H@®£€$ µ£¥§€$ f€N€¥

Janice
Janice

You will all have a different take on those Federal Employees when it starts to matter in your household.

Like when Grandma can't pay her rent because she has no Social Security check. (you know...that thing her and Grandpa paid into for years so they could retire)

Or, like when your husband or brother, who is a veteran and can't get medical care anymore because the VA closes.

Or when that wedding you have planned for 2 years doesn't happen because the venue you chose is on federal land.

Or the interstate you travel on to get to work everyday falls into disrepair so bad, you wear out tires 3x a year.

Or when you stop getting your child support because the federal funds that help run the state programs dry up.

Let me know how that goes for you.

And, but the way, Run-a-muck, please please please don't comment until you actually read and understand the article. It is better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

Lizzie64
Lizzie64

If they decide to draw unemployment and then they receive back pay of their wages, they will need to return the unemployment benefits that they received, because it will then be considered an overpayment. And I don't believe that there is a guarantee at this point that they will get back pay, so at this point in time, yes they are unemployed and not on vacation. Congress should not get paid during this time as well...but we all know that won't happen.

David1
David1

Tea Party Republicans are like a 4-year old when you tell it not to touch a hot stove. The hot stove, here, being default. I believe they want us to go into default, just to see what happens, despite historical fact and more knowledgeable warnings. Many of them, even Cantor, Ryan, et al., are Ayn Rand disciples, who want this nut case's beliefs made into public policy.

They are like religious fanatics; they don't care about effects of their superstitious beliefs on others. And, if you disagree with them, they consider you a heretic, fit to be burned at the stake. Incredible such a few have so much power in Congress that they can nullify and confound the wishes of the vast majority of Americans, who voted Obama back in office.


gadflyohsofly
gadflyohsofly

"the fact that we are here today to debate raising the debt limit is a sign of leadership failure"- Senator Obama, 2006

walter12
walter12

So now fed workers are going to get paid twice. Isn't that typical. It is you GD Obama and his lapdogs in the US Senate and this monstrosity called ObamaCare that is destroying this nation, not some small group called the Tea Party. They have no power.

Lizzie64
Lizzie64

They won't get paid twice. If they do file for unemployment insurance and then get back pay, they will have to repay all the unemployment insurance pay that they received. (at least in Montana)

GaryTinkSanders
GaryTinkSanders

They will file for unemployment and get it, Congress has already voted to pay them back pay so are they going to pay back the unemployment money like we would have to do or are they getting a free pass. Maybe being held to a different standard is a perk of government employees.

Run - A- Mook
Run - A- Mook

When they get their back pay for no work,
do their have to pay back the unemployment
money? Just asking.

Lizzie64
Lizzie64

Yes, they have to pay back their unemployment benefit payments.

MontanaJim72
MontanaJim72

Sorry johnny Dollar...it would appear it is the tea party nuts who are acting like babies in a wet diaper. They don't agree with a law that was passed by Congress and upheld by the Supreme Court. Now they are crying that it's not right and they will shutdown the government till they get their way. It's a shame that Republican leadership is so afraid of the far right wing of their party. There are already signs that the moderate and more sensible Republican members of the House are starting to realize how much damage this is causing their party. However, Boehner is so afraid that the tea party will get mad at him that he won't schedule an up or down vote on reopening the government. Failed leadership is a Republican staple.

Run - A- Mook
Run - A- Mook

please get your head out of aaah mmmm ooooo the sand.

Ace Furley
Ace Furley

Something doesn't seem right here. Maybe someone can set me straight regarding unemployment benefits. If congress has voted to pay furloughed workers all their back pay when they return to work then they are in essence on vacation, not unemployed. Does being on vacation qualify you for an unemployment check?

AL KIPF
AL KIPF

Hmm....they move from one trough to another. This comes as no surprise.

johnny Dollar
johnny Dollar

. A new poll says Americans are holding Republicans primarily responsible for the partial government shutdown. !!

Ohhhhhhhhh My! The AP (Associated Progressives) have said it, it must be true.

Those rotten tea party nutjobs........they are the ones that sent armed park rangers to harrass visitors at Yellowstone.....and they must have closed the National Memorial too.

No........that is Team Obama......when they don't get their way, they act like babies in a wet diaper.

David1
David1

No, johnny, it is not Team Obama "acting like babies in a wet diaper." It's your crowd. Grow up, extend the debt limit, then, like mature adults, start negotiating re: reducing the debt. You ignore that Obama has already reduced deficit spending by almost half.

Go ahead, continue to bargain on what is not bargainable: the U.S. must pay the bills it has accrued, just like your budget. As Obama has said, when a bill comes due, it's too late to negotiate it. I don't know how you run your finances, but to me that's a fact of life.

SS396CHEV
SS396CHEV

And you act like a baby with poop in his diaper...

johnny Dollar
johnny Dollar

Let's hope these parasites all get a nice, warm welcome to the wonderful "Private sector" economy they have worked so hard to destroy.

Fact is.......none of them will be missed. The state should have taken federal lands decades ago. Instead, the state takes the grants, trust funds and school funds so our kids can learn the new "Common Core" agenda, which sounds fine to the ears until learn that they will "Rewrite history" to suit the "Progressive Doctrine."

You take FED monies .....there are big strings attached......just ask Mayor Engen, who has spent 2yrs trying to appease the so called "Justice Dept." Behind closed doors, he could tell you what a nightmare it has been. And it isn't even close to over.

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