Government shutdown finishes week 3 as people grip for more pain over wall debate

David Madden
January 11, 2019 - 12:28 pm
New Jersey State House, Trenton, New Jersey,
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TRENTON, NJ (KYW Newsradio) -- America’s longest government shutdown ever has put many people on edge when it comes to getting by. In New Jersey, officials are advising residents and furloughed government workers alike.
                
Some 700,000 people on the SNAP program, those on food stamps, will see their February allocation in their accounts next week. Elisa Neira, a Deputy Commissioner at the New Jersey Department of Human Services, says the feds have found a loophole in the law. 
                
“The federal government has identified language in the Budget Bill that expired on December 21 that allows the federal government to make certain payments up to 30 days after the budgets end,” Neira told KYW Newsradio.
                
All 50 states are getting the same break, but be warned.
                
“At this time we have no assurances from the federal government that there is any additional funding beyond February,” she added.
                
So recipients will have to be careful with that February benefit.
                
Then there are the 800 thousand government workers going without a paycheck, many of them on furlough.
                
More and more of them are opting to file for unemployment compensation. In fact, New Jersey is actively urging affected workers to do just that.
                
“We have around 500 who’ve applied for unemployment benefits,” state Labor Commissioner Robert Asaroo-Angelo said, “but we want to make sure we get the word out.”
               
Once you apply, it takes about two weeks before a check is issued. Or in New Jersey’s case a bank card.
                
“As a former federal employee who was furloughed, I am very sympathetic to what they’re going through right now,” Asaro-Angelo added, “and we as a state wanted them to know we can support them and their families.”
                
Twenty-three-hundred Pennsylvania workers have made similar applications, including about 300 in the five-county Philadelphia area.
                
Of course, once the shutdown ends, workers who receive back pay will have to return the funds they received on unemployment. Those who don’t could well be tracked down in their home states.
                
There are federal guidelines on who can apply for benefits.
                
And here is a link for New Jersey federal workers to start the application process.