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Federal Furlough Workers FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions About Benefits Paid to Federal Workers Who Were Furloughed
I will be paid for the period of time the government was shut down.  Can I also receive unemployment benefits for that time? 

No.  The US Department of Labor (DOL), in revised guidance issued October 24, 2013, states federal employees furloughed during the shutdown do not meet the definition of ‘unemployed’ and are therefore not eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. 

If I already received payment during that period am I now overpaid?

Yes.  The department will issue administrative decisions to individuals advising them they were ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits during the period of time they were furloughed

How do I know how much I was overpaid? 

Information on how much you were overpaid, along with instructions on how to pay the money back, will be included with the decision. 

Why did you first say I could keep my benefits?

The department’s decision was based on state law and rule, along with guidance issued by the Department of Labor on October 11, 2013.  In that first guidance, DOL said furloughed employees were “unemployed.”  DOL has since updated its interpretation.  New guidance issued by DOL on October 24, 2013, requires all states, including Oregon, to deny benefits to claimants who will be paid for the furlough period.  It concluded those workers were not “unemployed” during the furlough.

I received my unemployment insurance benefits, but have not cashed the check.  Can I return the money?

Yes.  If you received your payment by check and it has not been cashed, write “Void” on the check and either take the check to your local employment office or mail it to:

Employment Department
ATTN:  R & R Unit
875 Union St NE
Salem OR 97311

By returning the original check all benefits will have been returned, including taxes and you will not receive a 1099G after the end of the year. 

I received my unemployment insurance benefits, and have already cashed the check, or I received payment electronically (through direct deposit or ReliaCard Visa).  Can I return the money?

Individuals who have cashed the check and want to pay back the funds immediately can send a check for the full amount, made payable to the Oregon Employment Department.  The mailing address is:

Oregon Employment Department
Unit 21 Collections
PO Box 4395
Portland, OR 97208-4395

Payments made electronically are treated the same way as a “cashed check”.  The department does not have the ability to retrieve an electronic payment once it has been transferred to the individual’s account. 

The total amount received is considered earnings and you will receive a 1099G at the end of the year. 

Can I cancel my claim?

Claimants who have not received payment can request to cancel their claim.  Individuals who received payment by check, and return the un-cashed check to the Employment Department can also cancel their claim.  To cancel your claim, call the UI Center at 877-345-3484.

If you have cashed your unemployment benefit check or it was deposited electronically your claim cannot be cancelled.