Institute research fellow Stephen A. Wandner has coauthored an article on the financial impact of the government shutdown on furloughed federal workers and how they may rely on Unemployment Insurance to help make up for the lost pay. The article, written with William Arnone, CEO of the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI), is titled "Furloughed Federal Workers and Unemployment Insurance." It appeared on January 18 in NASI's Discuss: Share in Our Policy Ideas newsletter. According to the authors
During this current government shutdown, many federal employees are applying for unemployment insurance benefits to partially replace their lost wages and salaries. These benefits would provide partial income support in accord with the design of the UI program. Once the shutdown is over and workers are paid for the shutdown period, they will have to repay any UI benefits they received.
States, however, have been uncertain regarding whether excepted workers can receive UI benefits. According to the 2013 ETA guidance memo, the roughly 450,000 “essential” or “excepted” federal workers may be ineligible for UI “because states may determine that they are still fully employed.” On January 16, Molly Conway, Acting Assistant Secretary at the Employment and Training Administration, sent a notice to state workforce program administrators confirming that the 2013 letter represents current policy.