No Free Ride For Furloughed Feds In Kansas

Furloughed federal workers have made out like bandits in some states, reaping back pay for time off while simultaneously collecting unemployment benefits.

But not in Kansas.

Officials with the Kansas Department of Labor said 1,420 federal workers filed for unemployment insurance over the course of the 16-day shutdown, with the bulk of applications rolling in during the first week of the federal government’s closure.

Barbara Hersh, marketing and communications director for the KDOL, said those workers who get back pay won’t earn unemployment benefits too.

“Claims are being reviewed on an individual basis so that correct determinations can be made. Any claimant who received unemployment benefits, and is being awarded back pay for the same time period, will be required to repay the entire amount of benefits,” she said.

Hersh couldn’t say how much has been awarded to furloughed federal workers, but noted some filed for benefits and never made a weekly claim. Hersh was also unable to provide number on how many military claims were submitted.

Because of a legal technicality some states, like Oregon, will allow federal workers to retain any unemployment benefits they received in addition to back pay authorized by Congress.

Story by Travis Perry / Kansas Watchdog