California's Employment Development Department is advising federal workers in the state affected by the partial government shutdown to immediately apply for unemployment benefits.
EDD's Loree Levy said it takes about three weeks for a claim to get processed, and eligibility begins at the time the worker was furloughed.
“If indeed they lost the job without pay or if they’re working without pay, going all the way back to the end of December we’ll be able to back-date their claim to that start date,” Levy said.
EDD estimates there are about 245,000 federal workers in California, although it doesn't know how many are off the job due to the shutdown.
As of Dec. 29, when the shutdown began, 779 workers had filed a claim for unemployment benefits. Levy said that's a 600 percent increase from the same time a year ago. Those numbers are expected to grow as the shutdown continues. Levy said the department should have updated claim figures this week.
For more information about filing a claim for unemployment insurance benefits, visit the EDD’s Federal Shutdown Frequently Asked Questions page. The application for benefits can be downloaded here.