Partial Federal Shutdown Unemployment Q & A

Here are some common questions regarding unemployment benefits for federal employees on furlough.
Q: I am currently working, but am not getting paid? Am I eligible for benefits?
A: No, if you are working 32 hours or more, you will not be eligible for benefits.
Q: I’m being put on temporary leave without pay (furloughed). Am I eligible for unemployment benefits for the time I’m off?
A: As a general rule, if you are unemployed through no fault of your own and are available to work, you should be eligible for benefits – assuming you meet other requirements. Please keep in mind unemployment benefits are determined on a weekly basis. You have to be unemployed for most or all of a week (Sunday through Saturday) to be eligible for benefits.
NOTE: Iowa Workforce Development decides eligibility on a case-by-case basis. Anyone has a right to file for benefits and claim weekly benefits. When IWD has all the facts, IWD will decide if you’re eligible.
Q: I am temporarily unemployed as a result of the federal shutdown. What should I report as the reason for my separation when I apply for unemployment benefits?
A: Report your separation as a “lack of work.” Do not select “strike/lockout”, “layoff as a result of business closing” or “fired.” The furlough is not the result of a labor dispute (strike or lockout) or your employer firing you from your job.
Q: As a furloughed Federal employee, will I be required to look for work if I file for unemployment? 
A: Effective Dec. 22, 2018, furloughed Federal employees and Federal contractor employees will not be required to obtain job search contacts if they file for unemployment benefits during the Federal government shutdown period.
Q: Will I get paid for every week I file a claim?
A: After you file your initial claim application, you must also file your weekly claim. That weekly claim must be filed each week you wish to be paid benefits. The first day to file your weekly claim is Sunday to report the information for the prior week. You are required to report gross wages for the week the wages were earned and not when paid.
Q. What if I receive back pay for the days I was furloughed?
A: If you receive back pay for any day you also were paid unemployment benefits, you must contact Iowa Workforce Development. You will be required to pay back the unemployment benefits received.

Q:  Do I need to provide any forms or written documentation to Iowa Workforce Development for my claim to be processed?
A:  After submitting you unemployment claim, we will contact you if additional information is needed. This may include the following:

  • Standard Form 50 (SF-50) - provided to federal workers upon separation
  • Standard Form 8 (SF- 8) - provided to federal workers upon
  • Wage information for the past 18 months (W-2 or pay stubs)

Q:  After I file my claim, when will I receive benefits?
A:  The wages for federal employment are not reported to Iowa Workforce Development. When a claim is filed, Iowa Workforce Development must contact the Federal agency to obtain wage information. Generally, the process takes 10 to 14 days to process a claim.  During that time, you must report your weekly claim online and you would be paid for those weeks if Iowa Workforce Development determines you to be eligible.

For additional details regarding unemployment insurance eligibility, review the Unemployment Insurance Claimant Handbook.

Additional resources are available through the U.S Office of Personnel Management.