Unemployment pay may not be enough for those furloughed

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - Thousands of Idaho workers who depend on their paychecks from their federal jobs are now left looking for other options. And that's sending some to the Unemployment Office.

Federal employees who file for unemployment can receive a maximum of $357 a week during the shutdown. During the first day of furloughs alone, the Idaho Department of Labor saw more than 400 federal employees sign up for it.

But the average federal worker makes a salary of around $60,000 a year, meaning a little over $1,400 a month may not be enough to keep up with all of their expenses. But for now, the Idaho Department of Labor says it may be just what some need to keep those bills in check and food on the table.

"There are also federal employees that don't get paid that well," explained Bob Uhlenkott, Idaho Department of Labor spokesman, "I mean it's government work, and so there will be some folks that the $357 will mean a lot to, and it'll help them keep the lights on if they're living paycheck to paycheck."

The Department of Labor urges government employees who do want to take advantage of unemployment insurance to file for it as soon as possible, because there's a week waiting period before the first check comes in.

And Uhlenkott says there is a catch to taking the unemployment insurance. He explains that if the government ends up paying employees back for the wages they missed out on, they'll have to pay back the unemployment money given to them.