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Politics & Government

Job Service says furloughed government employees eligible for jobless benefits

Job Service-North Dakota says it’s getting a number of unemployment claims from furloughed federal workers.

"We are getting unemployment benefit applications mainly over the phone or over the Internet," said Job Service executive director Maren Daley. "Most of the federal employees that have been furloughed will be eligible."

Daley says those workers are eligible as long as the government shutdown lasts.

"If the federal government gives them back pay, they would have to reimburse the unemployment benefits they received," said Daley. "You don't get both. But getting benefits should help their cash flow for groceries, mortgage, rent and other things."

Daley says this time, there is no guarantee the furloughed workers would receive back pay. She says in the other shutdowns, the workers did get back pay.

Meanwhile, Daley is closely watching the fight over the shutdown. Her agency is 98 percent federally-funded.

"We've been watching federal budget declines over several recent years," said Daley. "We operate very conservatively."

Daley says her agency has some carryover funds, and looking at how far that will carry her agency.

"At this point, we're okay," said Daley. "But if it becomes a prolonged shutdown, we could also have layoffs."

Daley says her office has 250 full-time employees. She says since 2001, the agency’s staffing has already been cut by more than 130 positions.

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