Furloughed federal workers eligible for unemployment benefits in Tennessee

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A furloughed IRS worker in Ogden, Utah holds a sign that reads "We Want to Work." (AP)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Thousands of furloughed federal workers in Tennessee may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits, the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development said Friday.

The state of Tennessee has received applications for unemployment benefits from 400 federal workers since the shutdown began, the department said. About 25,000 federal workers in Tennessee are affected by the federal shutdown, now in its third week.

“It’s affecting so many families,” said Lee Ann Strahlendorf of Memphis, whose husband has been furloughed by the Coast Guard. Air traffic controllers and IRS workers are also affected locally.

Federal employees can apply for unemployment benefits through the state’s workforce development website, www.Jobs4TN.gov or call 844-224-5818 .The maximum weekly benefit in Tennessee is $275, which is subject to federal income taxes. Once the shutdown ends, and if the federal government provides workers with back pay for the time they were furloughed.

MLGW also announced Friday that customers who are furloughed federal employees are eligible for the utility’s hardship program, meaning they can make payment arrangements while they are not receiving a paycheck.

An estimated 800,000 government employees missed their paychecks for first time this week since the shutdown began three weeks ago, the AP reported. Roughly 420,000 federal employees were deemed essential and are working unpaid. An additional 380,000 are staying home without pay.

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