A TSA agent checks IDs and boarding passes of travelers making their way through a security checkpoint at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in 2010. Credit: Bita Honarvar.
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Can federal shutdown workers get unemployment benefits? Yes ... and no

Not all federal employees who go without pay during the partial government shutdown will qualify for unemployment benefits, according to the Georgia Department of Labor. 

Federal employees who are out of work due to the shutdown may be able to receive unemployment, said David Bennett, the Georgia Department of Labor’s communications director. 

However, essential employees who are required by law to stay on the job without pay during the shutdown won’t qualify for unemployment benefits in Georgia because they are still working, Bennett said.

A number of federal employees could fall into that category, including Transportation Security Agency officers, air traffic controllers and others. 

Both furloughed and essential employees have been given back pay after other shutdowns ended.

Federal workers who do qualify for unemployment benefits should keep another caveat in mind: If they later receive back pay for their jobs, they’ll have to repay the unemployment money they received, according to the state.  

The Georgia Department of Labor has set up an online page with information describing unemployment benefits for furloughed federal workers: https://dol.georgia.gov/federal-employees-furlough-information

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