Furloughed federal workers race to collect unemployment

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LEAWOOD, Kan. -- The Kansas Department of Labor says unemployment filings increased tenfold this week as workers furloughed because of the federal government shutdown scrambled to collect unemployment.

"On average we've had about 142 calls a week and as of 10 o'clock this morning we had received 1,388 calls," said the Kansas Department of Labor Communications Director Barbara Hersh.

The Missouri Department of Labor won't release numbers, but says it's also experienced an influx of unemployment requests and it has extended its claim center's hours of operation to accommodate them.

"It's very stressful. I wake up everyday and I'm constantly watching CNN or something like that, waiting to see if they pass something and when they say we can go back to work," Andrew McCollough, a furloughed worker, said.

McCollough is a contractor for a federal agency and is classified as a "non-essential worker" and therefore furloughed because of the shutdown.

"It's just the waiting game of when can we go back? Am I going to have enough money to eat? And I going to have enough money to pay the electricity? To keep a roof over my head?," said McCollough.

McCollough says under these tough times he doesn't blame federal workers who find another line of work.

"I've got five employees under me," he said. "I've advised my people to just let me know if they find something else if they don't want to take the risk."

For now, McCollough says he hasn't started looking elsewhere. He's holding out hoping the government gets its act together fast.

"The fighting has to stop. You're hurting good people. There's a lot of people out of work right now that do important things that keep things going," he said.

The Kansas Department of Labor says anyone who makes a request should expect to wait at least a week before receiving their first unemployment check.

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3 comments

  • Dave

    Please remember that the GOP has sent up numerous bills to fund various parts of the gov’t and Harry Reid has said NO to every bill submitted. The blame lies at the feet of the Democrats as well.

    • Wayne Finn

      Yep, everyone seems to want to blame just the GOP. The Democrats and Obama don’t want to compromise at all. They had bills to fund everything in the government but only delay the individual penalties until the business penalties went in to effect and the democrats said no. That is more than fair I believe and I am now blaming the democrats.

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