Q & A Session – Collecting Unemployment While on Furlough


Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.


If a federal employee was put on furlough without pay, could he/she apply for unemployment for that period? 


Generally, yes. However, you must be placed in LWOP (leave without pay) status for at least one full week to receive unemployment insurance benefits. Depending on the reason you were placed on LWOP, your agency may challenge your claim (e.g. if LWOP was a result of a disciplinary action, etc.). We note that each state has its own rules which determine under which specific conditions an individual may receive unemployment benefits. 

Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw Bransford & Roth PC.

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1 Comment

  1. I work(ed) at NASA in Virginia. We were told that it was illegal to seek unemployment during furlough. We were also told that we could obtain unemployment during this time. When I tried to apply for this, I was told that I must register my resume and immediately seek employment.

    I don’t want to run afoul of a federal rule.. but it seems we are unable to get unemployment in VA without breaking it.

    Please help ..

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