PA federal employee’s on furlough applying for unemployment benefits, temp agency work

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CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA -- The partial government shutdown is forcing federal workers in Central Pennsylvania to find a temporary form of income.

With Friday was the first day federal employees went without their first paycheck, many have been turning to temp agencies and applying for unemployment.

Temp agencies in Central Pennsylvania say they are noticing a surge in applications.

“A lot of them will say well I am currently on shutdown mode where I’m not working. They were looking for other sources of income to support their family in order for them to be able to afford their bills," said Brenda Tejada, The Performance Group, Harrisburg Branch Manager.

“Some of our clients are industrial clients," said Tejada. “These are people that are normally sitting at a desk answering phones, multitasking so it’s kind of difficult," she added.

Some federal employee's are also filing unemployment claims instead, keeping The Pennsylvania Department of Labor busy.

“We’re making sure that the people who handle those claims specifically are just getting the time to do so as opposed to other tasks," said Susan Dickinson, Director at The Office of Unemployment Compensation Benefits Policy.

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor confirms since the start of the shutdown three weeks ago, they’ve seen 2,300 new claims from people on furlough.

“They are not working at all and they are not getting paid so those would be eligible to apply for unemployment," said Dickinson.

However, there’s a catch. Those still working without pay aren’t eligible and for federal workers who are eligible and end up receiving back pay will be required to pay back the benefits they got down the road.

Experts say the longer the shutdown goes, the more claims there will be.

“As each week goes more federal employees might end up getting a little more nervous because they are not receiving their paychecks," added Dickinson.

If you've been impacted by the government shutdown and have had to find a second form of income, I want to share your story! Email me at

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