Federal Government Shutdown - Frequently Asked Questions

Page last updated January 30, 2019.


If you have been furloughed as a direct result of the federal shutdown, you may be eligible for regular unemployment benefits.

The federal shutdown is over - what now?

Q: What do I do now that the government has reopened and I returned to work?

A. While the partial government shutdown is no longer in effect, you may choose to request payment of unemployment benefits for any week you were out of work or that you worked without receiving payment on your normal pay schedule. Keep in mind that you will be required to repay any unemployment benefits requested and received for weeks you were working but not receiving payment from your employer.

Q: What happens if I receive back pay after the shutdown has ended?

A: Since Congress reached an agreement that includes back pay for furloughed time, federal workers will be responsible for paying back any unemployment benefits received during that time. If you have already requested payment of unemployment benefits and you then receive payment from your government job, you must provide detailed information about the compensation you received, including dates and gross amounts.

Q: How do I make arrangements to repay the unemployment benefits now that I’ve returned to work?

A. We will send you a Notice of Overpayment of Benefits showing the total amount of benefits that you need to pay back. You have the option of paying the full amount due or making arrangements to pay the amount in installments. Follow the instructions on the notice you receive to make a payment or call the number on the form to set up a payment arrangement.

Q: Can I cancel my claim now?

A: If you did not receive payment of unemployment benefits, you may cancel your claim. However, if you cancel your claim, you will have to start over with a new one if there is another government shutdown within the next 12 months. To cancel your claim, complete this form.

Q: What happens if there is another government shutdown?

A: Now that you have a claim on file, you can reopen it if there is another shutdown within the next 12 months. If you were paid unemployment benefits and then you received back pay from your government employer, you will need to make arrangements to repay those benefits once you receive and report the back pay to us. Follow the instructions on the notice of overpayment you receive in the mail.  


What do I do if the government shuts down?

Q: How do I file for unemployment benefits?

A: The quickest way to file a claim is online at www.coloradoui.gov. You can also file by phone: Denver Metro 303-318-9000 / Toll-Free 1-800-388-5515.

Q: How long will it take for me to receive benefits?

A: Processing your claim can take four to six weeks to complete.

Q: What documentation do I need?

A:  You will need to submit a Notification of Personnel Action (SF50), or a Notice to Federal Employee About Unemployment Insurance (SF8), or a check stub when requested.


Q: When filing for unemployment benefits, there is no option to select ‘furloughed’ or similar. What should I choose?

A: If you are currently not working due to the federal government shutdown and for no other reason, when prompted to enter a reason for separation, select 'Laid off due to a lack of work'. The application will ask you to indicate the name of the person who notified you and what reason you were given. At that time you can type in that it was due to the federal government shutdown.

Q: The claim application mentions a job search requirement. Do I have to search for a job or register with a workforce center while furloughed?   

A:  Federal employees who are not working or who are working but not getting paid as a result of the government shutdown are considered job-attached and will not be required to register for work via Connecting Colorado or at a local workforce center, nor conduct a job search or engage in work-search activities during the furlough. In order to ensure you receive job-attached status, be sure to mark on your claim that you expect to return to work for the same employer.

Q. If I am working without pay, am I eligible for unemployment?

A: A new rule was adopted by the Division of Unemployment Insurance expanding the definition of “unemployed” to include workers who are deemed essential and who are working but not getting paid as scheduled during the shutdown. If this applies to you, you may apply for unemployment insurance benefits. Be sure to report all hours worked every two weeks when you request payments on your claim. Keep in mind that if you receive back pay from your employer, you must report the amount of the compensation for each week to the Division of Unemployment Insurance once you are paid by your employer, and you must then repay any unemployment benefits you were paid as a result of the federal shutdown.  

Q: Can I work part time for a nonfederal employer and receive benefits?

A: Yes, if you are otherwise eligible.  After filing your claim, you must report all hours and earnings when you request payment.  Working 32 hours or more in a given week is considered full-time work.

Q: Do I have to serve a waiting week?

A: Yes. The first week you are eligible for benefits on a claim is a mandatory unpaid waiting week.

Q: I am a federal contractor that is affected by the federal shutdown. Should I file for unemployment benefits?

A: Filing for unemployment benefits during the shutdown is a personal choice. If you file and later receive back pay for hours worked during the shutdown, you will be required to repay any unemployment benefits you received.

Q: Where can I find part-time job openings and other resources available to me?

A: There are more than 1000 part time job openings in ConnectingColorado.com, the state’s largest job search database. CDLE has also posted a list of resources on the FAQ page on the department’s website at coloradoui.gov. Local workforce centers can also help point workers to local human service offices and other assistance organizations. A list of workforce centers can be found at www.myworkforcecenter.com

Q: How do I find out the status of my claim?

A: The status of your claim can be found on MyUIClaimant - https://myui.coworkforce.com/LogIn