811 Ark. federal workers file for unemployment - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

811 Ark. federal workers file for unemployment in first week of furloughs

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LITTLE ROCK (KATV) -

Unemployment claims have spiked, fueled by hundreds of out of work federal employees.

In the first week of furloughs, 811 federal employees filed for unemployment insurance, according to the Bryan Hicks with the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services.

Hicks noted they can't determine which of those are furloughed versus laid off employees. 

The weekly unemployment payout is based on salary with a cap at $451 per week, according to Little Rock unemployment insurance manager Debbie Tripp.

Tripp said many of these federal employees are making more than that.

A bill, passed by the House, would grant retroactive pay to furloughed federal workers. 

If that bill passes the Senate and is signed into law, federal employees who have received unemployment insurance will have to pay it back.

Tripp said many are planning to do just that when the time comes.

"They'll pay the money back when the time comes," Tripp explained, "But right now they need to pay their bills."