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Hassan: Furloughed federal employees in N.H. should seek unemployment benefits

Last modified: 10/5/2013 12:17:11 AM
Federal employees who have been furloughed due to the government shutdown can and should apply for unemployment benefits, New Hampshire officials said yesterday.

“The federal government shutdown is causing unnecessary hardship to New Hampshire families,” Gov. Maggie Hassan said in a statement. “The federal employees who have been furloughed make critical contributions to our economy, and it is important we provide support to those workers as they struggle through the shutdown.”

As of 2012, there were 4,165 federal employees working in New Hampshire – not including the U.S. Postal Service, which isn’t affected by the shutdown that began 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, said Dianne Carpenter, unemployment compensation bureau director at New Hampshire Employment Security.

It’s not clear how many of those workers have been sent home without pay in New Hampshire. Across the country, an estimated 800,000 or more federal workers are being furloughed due to the shutdown.

Many agencies, including the Transportation Security Administration and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, are continuing to operate because many of their workers have been deemed essential, though they’re not being paid.

But any federal employee who’s been sent home and isn’t being paid, “barring any other concerns,” is eligible to receive unemployment benefits during the shutdown, Carpenter said.

As of yesterday morning, she said, only 108 New Hampshire-based federal workers had filed for benefits.

“We’re doing everything we possibly can to get people informed. . . . If they’re furloughed, they need to come in and file now,” Carpenter said.

Federal workers must file for unemployment benefits in the state where they work, not the state where they live. That means New Hampshire residents who work at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, would apply in Maine, not New Hampshire.

Furloughed New Hampshire workers can file for benefits online at nhes.nh.gov or at any New Hampshire Employment Security office. The agency’s Concord office is at 10 West St.

If furloughed federal workers end up getting back pay once the shutdown is over, they’ll have to repay their unemployment benefits to the state, Carpenter said.

(Ben Leubsdorf can be reached at 369-3307 or bleubsdorf@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @BenLeubsdorf.)


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