Federal employees file for unemployment as government shutdown becomes longest in history


Furloughed federal employees are starting to apply for unemployment compensation in their home states as the partial government shutdown stretches on and pressures workers’ finances.

The Virginia Employment Commission reports that it has had 479 requests for compensation filed by federal workers who were left idle by the shutdown, and it expects more soon.

“I can say with complete confidence that the filing of claims has picked up dramatically in the past few days,” William Walton, director of unemployment insurance services, told the Washington Examiner, adding that they were still processing them and the 479 figure was likely out of date.

Neighboring Maryland also reported a surge. “The pace has increased in the last week, not exponentially, but it has definitely picked up,” said Theresa Blaner, spokeswoman for the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. The total number to date was 2,550.

Tiffany Brown, spokesperson for the D.C. Department of Employment Services, which is home to an estimated 102,000 workers from agencies that haven’t been paid, said the total unemployment claims from them had reached more than 4,800. The department had reported the figure at just 379 on Dec. 28, the first full week of the shutdown.

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