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Connecticut agency works to help furloughed federal workers

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HARTFORD — The state Department of Labor hopes to help some of the approximately 1,500 federal employees likely affected by the partial federal government shutdown, and who work or live in Connecticut.

Commissioner Kurt Westby said the agency can assist those workers who are eligible to collect unemployment benefits to navigate the unemployment compensation process. Federal employees who are on furlough are eligible to apply online for benefits, while those required to work during the shutdown but are not getting paid are ineligible to file for unemployment.

“During this difficult time for families affected by the federal shutdown, we will be doing our very best to assist those federal employees eligible to collect unemployment benefits,” he said.

Westby said the agency will use an employee affidavit to process claims for workers whose agencies are unable to respond to requests for required information because of the government shutdown. In such cases, he says workers will need to make sure their affidavits are accompanied by supporting documents that show their wage history.

Talks between the White House and congressional aides and aimed at ending the shutdown kicked off Saturday.

Connecticut employees affected by the shutdown work for about a dozen federal agencies, ranging from Department of Homeland Security to Department of Justice. About 160 of the 260 government-funded nonessential employees at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London have been furloughed, with students set to return Sunday.

The majority of the 100 nonessential civilians who remain on the job are faculty and classes and previously scheduled training will be held, the academy said this week. But support staff, maintenance and facilities workers, groundskeepers and others won’t be on hand to perform their duties.

Bryan Krampovitis, of West Haven, told the Hartford Courant he’s still working as an air traffic controller at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks but has no idea when he will get his next paycheck.

“I’m a single father of my daughter, and she relies on me to be her sole provider,” Krampovitis said. “I have a home and mortgage. It’s a hard time to be in. I’m forced to continue to go work or face the possibility of losing my job.”

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