Most laid-off state workers filed for unemployment

Most of the 23,000 state workers who were laid off during the state budget shutdown have received some unemployment benefits, officials said.

About 16,000 state workers had opened new unemployment accounts as of July 15, said Kim Isenberg, a spokesperson for the state Department of Employment and Economic Development. Of those, 13,000 already have applied for benefits and the rest are still able to, she said.

Benefits equal to 50 percent of a worker’s pay, up to a maximum of $578 in unemployment benefits per week. So anyone earning $1,156 per week (about $60,000 a year) would get a smaller percentage of their regular pay.

Under the state system, newly unemployed workers don’t get benefits for the first full week that they are out of work, which for state employees was the week of July 3. The state workers did get unemployment checks for the week of July 10, and will get a pro-rated check for this week, through Thursday, when they are called back to work.

So those seeking the benefits will get about half-pay for eight of the 13 days they were out of work because of the shutdown.

Cost to the state of the added unemployment checks from state workers: about $6 million to $8 million a week, Isenberg said.

Officials also noted an increase in unemployment claims from non-state workers whose jobs were eliminated by the shutdown, but the state office hasn’t been able to analyze that yet, because many of those workers were off, too.

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