RALEIGH, N.C. - Furloughed federal employees are facing another obstacle but this time, at the state level.
North Carolina's Division of Employment Security has been flooded with calls from furloughed federal workers, looking for information about what unemployment benefits they qualify for.
"The most common [questions] are, are they entitled to benefits, when are they entitled to benefits, and when the government reopens, and they get their pay, will they be required to pay those benefits back?" explained Assistant Secretary of Commerce Dale Folwell.
Folwell estimates his office has received 10,000 calls from federal employees. His office has set up a special queue to help these workers but that doesn't mean they will see their benefits any quicker.
Folwell says every single claim filed by furloughed workers has to be "touched by hand."
"It slows down not because of who they are, it slows it down because we have to get a response from the employer about why this person is not working. And we have no ability to get responses because their supervisors and bosses and HR departments are not functioning," explained Folwell.
Monday is the first day employees would be able to receive benefits. That's because like all jobless claimants, they have to wait a week for benefits. However, because the government is still shutdown, the earliest federal employees would see a benefit check is after 14 days.
"If the federal government continues to be shut down, these federal employees are eventually entitled to these benefits like everyone else but to remind you, if the law passes that says these people are going to be paid retroactively, then all this effort to get them the benefits is going to be for naught because the federal employee is going to be required to pay every penny of it back," explained Folwell.
READ: Houses Passes Bill to Pay Workers Furloughed During Shutdown
WFMY News 2