A dedicated toll-free number to access unemployment benefits has been set up for federal workers in California affected by the ongoing government shutdown, state officials said Friday.
Gov. Gavin Newsom pledged this week to give furloughed workers - or those required to work without pay -- quick access to benefits.
The California Employment Development Department is encouraging the federal employees to file an unemployment claim by calling the agency at (855) 327-7056, weekdays between 8 a.m. and noon. The workers may also apply online.
"As the government shutdown enters its third week with no prospect of resolution or payment of salaries to affected federal employees, many workers find themselves in acute financial distress," said Labor and Workforce Development Agency Secretary Julie A. Su.
Unemployment benefits amounts range from $40 to $450 per person and are available for up to 26 weeks. Federal workers who receive a retroactive paycheck after the shutdown ends will be required to repay the benefits received.
Information on benefits for those affected by the shutdown can be found on EDD's Frequently Asked Questions page.
The department estimates there are about 245,000 federal workers in California, including full-time, part-time and seasonal workers.
As of Dec. 29, the first week of the shutdown, 779 federal workers in the state filed for unemployment benefits, according to EDD.