Sep 24, 2020
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How Furloughed Federal Workers Can Make Money During the Shutdown

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The partial government shutdown is now the longest in history and there s no sign it will end soon. For federal workers not receiving a paycheck that’s obviously causing serious financial problems. So what s a federal worker who’s being forced to work without pay or furloughed to do? The excellent news is that there are a few options


The bad news is that these alternatives aren t ideal. 1. Find another job. That’s the most obvious solution for income replacement during the shutdown. While finding a new permanent job is usually an option most federal workers plan to come to their current government jobs. This implies any additional employment will have got to be temporary or part-time


Traditionally retail and food services provide a practical option: they re plentiful they re easy to quit on a moment s notice and they have high turnover so most employers will remember that applicants won t be working for them long-term. But that’s hardly an ideal solution. Pay is often minimum wage or just a tad more


And most significantly they re not a practical option in case you are excepted workers and need to work full-time without pay already. This not only means the excepted worker has to work two jobs (and only get paid for one in every of them) but it can create scheduling issues


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These grants flexibility for excepted workers to make money when not scheduled during their normal working hours. Another hurdle for locating another job is that many workers may need special approval first. As an instance some IRS employees and government attorneys will need a pre-approval or waiver before they can start their new job


The difficulty is that getting this paperwork completed is usually impossible because the shutdown has closed the office or furloughed the man necessary to finish the paperwork. 2. File for unemployment. Although unpaid federal workers aren t technically unemployed some would be eligible for unemployment benefits. State laws govern unemployment eligibility but generally speaking only furloughed employees can apply for unemployment benefits


So filing for unemployment won t be an option for many excepted workers. Depending at the state furloughed workers can apply on or after the first day their furlough begins. However there’ll usually be a one-week waiting period before workers can start receiving unemployment payments. After factoring in the waiting period and processing time most states will begin sending unemployment payments about two to three weeks after the worker files an unemployment claim


When applying workers should be prepared to give proof of wages as their employer s office might not be capable to verify the worker s claimed income simply by the shutdown. A method wherein states vary in how they handle unemployment claims from furloughed federal workers is the requirement to seek for a job


Some states would require the furloughed worker to submit proof they are seeking a brand new job while other states will temporarily waive this requirement. When the government shutdown finally ends should furloughed workers receive retroactive pay from Congress they should expect to pay back the state unemployment benefits they have received during the shutdown


To make this easier many states will allow workers to mounted a payment plan to come the unemployment money over a period of time. 3. Sue the government. The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) requires among many other things that employers pay their employees for work completed provide additional compensation for overtime work and supply pay in a timely fashion


As excepted workers are working without receiving a regular paycheck there are potential FLSA violations taking place. Countless excepted employees have filed at least three lawsuits alleging one or more violations of the above referenced FLSA requirements. These lawsuits have been initiated by employees from the National Treasury Employees Union American Federation of Government Employeesand a range of federal agencies


While nothing is for certain in litigation these lawsuits have a fantastic chance of winning as they are much like successful lawsuits brought in previous years following government shutdowns. So filing a lawsuit could bring about recouping missing wages in addition additional damages. However actually obtaining payments could take an extended time


Some successful litigants in earlier shutdown lawsuits as far back as 2013 are still looking forward to their money. Websites together with GoFundMe provide crowdsourcing options for federal workers. With the publicity of the shutdown and the sympathy most people has for unpaid workers it probably possible to elevate enough money to pay a few bills during the shutdown


Remember there might be potential tax implications if significant money is raised. While it might not bring about tax liability it can impose additional tax-related record keeping and reporting to the IRS. This is because the IRS may receive information about the fundraising and wish the taxpayer to verify why the cash they raised is not taxable


4. Take out a short-term loan. Several banks have announced that they’ll offer low- or no-interest short-term loans to eligible federal employees. As an instance Democracy Federal Credit Union has a short-term loan (up to six months) available with zero percent interest while USAA Bank and Transportation Federal Credit Union have loans with low rates of interest and other generous terms


But be cautious to read carefully the terms of any short-term loan especially because it s not clear when the shutdown may end and follow reputable financial institutions. 5. Apply for a waiver or extension out of your financial institutions. Some banks and mastercard companies are willing to work with customers to aid them during the shutdown in terms of paying off existing debt


Depending at the institution they may offer late fee waivers forego interest or provide extended deadlines for making mastercard or loan payments. The precise process and benefits depends upon the financial institution in addition the individual. Those people who are in better standing (always make on-time payments don t carry over balances etc


) can have a stronger chance of getting a waiver or extension. While this isn t technically income it grants slightly of reprieve to government workers going without a regular paycheck. This text is not intended as specific or legal advice but rather some ideas to consider. As always see an attorney and monetary advisor for professional advice specific for your situation

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