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Thu Jan 10, 2019, 08:01 PM

Thousands of federal workers file for unemployment

A few days ago, Will Kohler, a tax examiner for the IRS, filed for unemployment. He's been out of work for three weeks now due to the gridlock in Washington, D.C.

"It seems like it's going to go on forever," Kohler, 55, said, from his house in Covington, Kentucky. "I need to eat."

He has $500 left until his first unemployment check arrives.

Some 800,000 federal workers across the country find themselves in financial uncertainty as the government shutdown drags into its third week. President Donald Trump has said the stalemate could persist for months or even years.

As a result, unemployment offices are reporting an uptick in claims from federal workers. Among the applicants are a scientist at the Environmental Protection Agency, a judge for the Department of Housing and Urban Development and a data analyst at the Department of Transportation.

More than 4,700 federal employees filed for unemployment in the last week of December, compared with 929 the week prior, according to the Department of Labor. There is no federal data available yet for the first week of January. Unemployment rules vary by state; generally the government provides benefits to eligible workers who have lost a job "through no fault of their own," for a maximum of 26 weeks.


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