Posted at 12:40 PM on July 1, 2011
by Paul Tosto
Hours after most Minnesota government operations shut down this morning, laid off state workers were causing a surge in applications for unemployment benefits, MPR News reporter Martin Moylan writes.
The week of July 10 would be the first week for which most state employees could collect unemployment. Payment for the week of July 10 could be requested during the week of July 17.
About 22,000 state workers have been laid off since the shutdown took hold at midnight.
Applications for unemployment benefits can be done over the phone or via the Internet. After a one-week waiting period, unemployed workers are eligible to collect 50 percent of their pay, up to a maximum of $578.
The soonest any laid off state employee would see jobless benefits show up in their bank account will be July 19th or 20th, Moylan reports.
MPR News reporter Catharine Richert recently answered some key Frequently Asked Questions on unemployment and the shutdown.
Q: Would laid-off state employees collect unemployment compensation? What about their health care?
A: Two of the state's largest employee unions came to agreement with the state on a plan that will keep state employee health care benefits intact, and Gearin's ruling allows for Minnesota Management and Budget employees to administer insurance.
However, members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees will forgo vacation, compensatory and severance pay. That means the state will save some cash, employees will go back to work after a government shutdown with their benefits intact, and they will be able to file for unemployment benefits immediately after being laid off.
Q: Who can claim unemployment benefits, and how?
A: Unemployment insurance claims will be processed and payments will be made during a shutdown. Anyone - private sector employees who lose their jobs during a shutdown and government employees who've been laid off - can apply.
People can start applying today, but state employees who worked 32 hours or more this week (the week of June 27) will not be considered unemployed until the week of July 3, so the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has created a schedule to let people know when they should apply. Here's a link. You can apply for benefits online.
Once you've applied, you'll have to wait a week before benefits kick in. So, for instance, if you apply next week, your first "compensable" week will be July 10, and you can request payment for that week starting the week of July 17. That means your first benefits won't be doled out until July 19 or 20.
For people who are already getting unemployment benefits, DEED says you should request your deposit on Sunday; though the office isn't normally open that day, DEED has decided to continue operation in the anticipation of a busy week.
Weekly benefits equal about half of an individual's gross weekly income to a maximum of $578, according to DEED.
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