January 18, 2019 - By Steven Wilson - The partial federal government shutdown is now the longest ever, and it is affecting many veterans and their families in California.
CalVet is sharing resources to assist federal workers during this shutdown.
EDD provides assistance to furloughed employees
- At the direction of Governor Gavin Newsom, the California Employment Development Department (EDD) is streamlining the processing of claims for impacted federal workers and providing benefits to eligible employees who are furloughed or continue to work without pay. Click here for resources.
- Weekly benefit amounts range from $40 to $450 depending on earnings and are available for up to 26 weeks. All claims are subject to a one-week unpaid waiting period which means eligible federal government workers will not receive unemployment benefits for the first week of their Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim.
- Employees who receive UI benefits and also later receive a retroactive payment from their employer for the same time period, will be required to repay the UI benefits received. The EDD will mail a notice of overpayment to the employee.
- Some federal employees could earn employment elsewhere during the shutdown, though they’d still have to abide by the executive branch’s ethical conduct standards and rules, as well as any relevant agency rules.
- U.S. Office of Personnel Management Furlough Guidance: Important Unemployment Insurance Resources for Federal Agencies and Employees
- FAQs – Unemployment Insurance Program: Frequently asked questions about the UI program.
- FAQs – Eligibility Requirements: Frequently asked questions about UI eligibility requirements.
- Unemployment Insurance – After You Filed: Provides information about what to expect after a claim is filed.
- Contact UI: Still need help? Contact EDD online, by phone or by mail.
VA is open for business
- The Department of Veterans Affairs is fully funded for the 2019 fiscal year, and all operations will continue as normal during the shutdown.
- The VA recently published a list of helpful benefits and services for veterans affected by the shutdown. This includes clarification on compensation and pension, education benefits, home loan servicing, the vocational rehabilitation and employment program, insurance needs, over-payments and VA community care and hardship resources.
CalVet Home Loans
- CalVet home loan holders who have contacted CalVet indicating they have been affected by the shutdown are receiving assistance in the form of payment flexibility and fee waivers.
- If you have a home loan through CalVet and you are worried about missing or being late on a payment and want to get in touch with our team, please contact CalVet at (800) 700-2127 toll free.
U.S. Coast Guard resources
- Most of the military isn’t affected because a bill funding the Defense Department passed in September. But since the U.S. Coast Guard falls under the Department of Homeland Security, many of those Coast Guard service members are furloughed.
- Alameda is home to one of California’s largest Coast Guard bases and local agencies have stepped up to help during this time of need.
- The Coast Guard Mutual Assistance non-profit agency is able to provide financial lapse assistance to all Coast Guard personnel – military and civilians – regardless of paygrade. Please visit their website and click the ‘Need Help’ section for specific guidelines. Coast Guard Mutual Assistance is prepared to help around 22,000 members of the Coast Guard workforce, with approximately $15 million in support. The relief society will provide assistance of up to $1,000 to eligible members with dependents; $750 to those who are single; and $200 to cadets. The interest-free loan is designed to cover two weeks of significant shortfalls because of not being paid, such as costs for housing, essential utilities, food and child care.
- The American Legion’s Temporary Financial Assistance program is also working with Coast Guard Mutual Assistance to provide immediate financial support for active-duty Coast Guard members with minor children in the home, with one-time grants of up to $1,500 per eligible household, during the shutdown.
- Coast Guard members and other federal workers are also encouraged to check with their military-affiliated banks and credit unions to determine if any assistance is available. Navy Federal Credit Union offers a “Government Shutdown Loan Program,” which is a no-interest loan, with a maximum amount of $6,000. The loan amount is based on the most recent direct deposit of pay made prior to the interruption of pay. Once the government resumes direct deposit of pay, the amount loaned will be automatically deducted as repayment.
- The Alameda County Community Food Bank is also stepping up to provide food to local groups for distribution to Coast Guard families.
- This week, the East Bay Coast Guard Spouses Club organized a food drive for service members and families affected by the shutdown. To get in contact with the club, or donate, contact Club President Ana Cangemi at EastBayspouses@gmail.com or visit their website.
- For further information regarding state benefits and assistance, please contact our team at CalVet via email: email@example.com.
More on federal workers’ benefits
- Health insurance coverage will continue, and premiums will accumulate during the shutdown, to be withheld from paychecks after the government reopens. Life insurance coverage continues for up to a year without cost to the employee or agency.
- Flexible spending account claims won’t be reimbursed until the shutdown ends. And premiums for long-term care and for dental and vision insurance will accumulate, then employees will be billed directly.
- Workers also can’t make contributions to their Thrift Saving Plans, their federal retirement savings accounts. They can borrow money from those accounts — but only if the shutdown is expected to last fewer than 30 days. Employees can withdraw from the accounts if they are 59½ years old or face a “financial hardship.”