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View Diary: Facing shutdown uncertainty, furloughed federal workers file for unemployment (51 comments)

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  •  My husband and I are furloughed Feds (10+ / 0-)

    in the DC area (office in DC, live in NoVa).

    When the subject of paying us back, retroactively, for the
    "vacation we didn't ask for," I see/read/hear people say "Well, compared to back in '95 (the last shutdown -- or was it '96?), the economy is really bad now, so this time might be different and the furloughed feds might not get that back pay.

    Excuse me? Were you planning not to pay me my full salary this year? Was the shutdown built into the budget? If not, I don't see why we shouldn't get the pay that is sitting there in the budgets for our agencies?

    Not holding my breath, but "austerity" for ME shouldn't be the fulfillment of some Republican's wet dream.

    "I think in America, the opposite of poverty is justice." Bryan Stevenson

    by gfre on Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 05:08:25 PM PDT

    •  Maybe that's the Republicans' plan - (0+ / 0-)

      idle the government for enough of the year that the rest of the year can be paid for without running a deficit.  Though with the IRS and a lot of other revenue-collecting offices shut down, I'm not sure that plan will work.

      Wait, I'm assuming they have a plan.

      •  You want to hear something really ironic? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Square Knot

        Since my husband and I are home, we are catching up on some paperwork things, and one of those was going back over our 2012 Federal tax return, trying to figure out why the IRS increased our federal refund by $616 beyond what we had been expecting. They had sent us a letter back then explaining it, but we kept looking and the 1040 and the Schedule H forms and couldn't understand.

        I was pretty sure we actually owed that money back to the IRS, but after one initial telephone call several months ago that went nowhere (probably my fault -- I think I was actually barking up the wrong tree right then), we just forgot about it for awhile.

        But it nagged at me, and when some other tax thing came in the mail today, it brought that $616 back up and we dragged out all the paperwork again and took another look.

        Turned out, the IRS didn't read our electronically-filed Turbo-tax form correctly -- our printed of the form showed an X in a box that was apparently missed by their software? -- and it's pretty clear we DO owe that $616, plus, I'm sure, at least interest now, if not a penalty, even if it was THEIR fault...

        BUT WE CAN'T CALL UP THE IRS TODAY BECAUSE THEY ARE CLOSED!!!!!!!


        SO THEY HAVE TO WAIT FOR OUR $616
        -- it's not like I'm just going to mail a check and hope it gets to the right place without establishing some contact first. And we wouldn't even know the right amount to send!

        John Boehner, open up this government so I can pay my fucking bill!

        "I think in America, the opposite of poverty is justice." Bryan Stevenson

        by gfre on Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 06:20:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I really doubt you'll owe a penalty or interest (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gfre

          if they incorrectly sent you a refund.

          The IRS is supposed to be working--the first 2 weeks of Oct are always extremely busy when people like me who are filing late have our Oct 15 deadline.

          If I was you, I'd sit on that money until the GOP extortion ends and you get paid.  Wait until they ask for it, if ever.

          •  I don't know. (0+ / 0-)

            I have a friend who lives in Maryland, and she had trouble with their state tax, I think.

            They unknowingly made a mistake one year, which wasn't caught. So they made the same mistake the second year, and then were in big financial trouble for BOTH years, even though they wouldn't have made the mistake twice if the state had found it that first year and told them about it.

            So, ever since that, I've been under the impression that waiting for them to find the mistake might just make things worse for ME in the long run.

            Also, I think there's an impact on the FUTA tax we pay for our household employee (cleaning lady every other week!) as well, so I'd really like to get it straightened out so everything can go smoothly next year.

            But thanks for the advice. I didn't know about the Oct. 15 deadline -- and I'll wait until that's passed since this isn't exactly an emergency!

            Of course, as non-essential employees, there's no guarantee we'll ever get paid for this time-out. My congressman has sponsored a bill to get us paid post-shutdown, but that could be a casualty of negotiations, if it goes that route.

            "I think in America, the opposite of poverty is justice." Bryan Stevenson

            by gfre on Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 08:17:57 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  It's so hard to retroactively feed your children. (0+ / 0-)

      A paycheck allows works to eat today!

    •  Are you planning to make up the days you did not (0+ / 0-)

      work?

      •  How do I do that? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        robbinsdale radical

        Give back my vacation days that I saved so that I could spend Christmas with my family?

        I am perfectly willing to be at work -- this wasn't MY choice.

        By now, the House has unanimously agreed to the back pay, so it is not an issue. But I find it strange that you think my furlough should cost ME more than it costs Congress. Do you remember how many days Congress actually "works" compared to the typical American worker, including Federal employees? If THEY have to "work" a weekend or two, their world won't come to an end.

        "I think in America, the opposite of poverty is justice." Bryan Stevenson

        by gfre on Sat Oct 05, 2013 at 11:00:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Also, by law, I'm not permitted to work (0+ / 0-)

          without compensation.

          "I think in America, the opposite of poverty is justice." Bryan Stevenson

          by gfre on Sat Oct 05, 2013 at 11:13:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Congress does not pay your salary. We do. (0+ / 0-)

          If my employer furloughs me I don't get paid and I don't get back pay.

          Why should you be any different?

          •  Again with the... (0+ / 0-)

            "my employer sucks, why shouldn't yours?"
            (I got that from my sister for years, before she went on a deserved disability period after an accident, and then retired. Of course, only certain government regulations made that disability check possible, but whatever.)

            I'm sorry that you are not getting your money's worth right now. Take that up with the Congress that decided to shut the government, and now, to pay me retroactively, after the government reopens. You may pay my salary, but Congress decides where your tax money goes.

            Believe me, Congress puts an awful lot of MY tax money in places I don't approve of -- but I accept that as the price I pay to live in a democracy.

            And, again, please explain how you would like me to "make up the days" I did not work?

            "I think in America, the opposite of poverty is justice." Bryan Stevenson

            by gfre on Sat Oct 05, 2013 at 02:44:39 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  If you want to make up the lost time (0+ / 0-)

              and if there is useful work to be done then you should give up vacation or work weekends.

              That's how the rest of us do it.

              Where did this idea come from that government workers should be paid not only for the work they do but also for the work that they don't do?

              •  For the last time... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                robbinsdale radical

                I am NOT PERMITTED TO WORK WITHOUT COMPENSATION.
                My agency sent me home with strict instructions.

                I am not permitted in the building. I am not even  permitted to access my work email account from home, other than an occasional check to see if there is a message telling me to report to work. (That is, of course, totally unnecessary, since such information would be widely available through news media.)

                You may not like those rules, but that's what they are. I didn't make them, but I am required to follow them.  The rationale for those rules can be found here.

                You cannot be reasoned with, so I will not be back to engage you further.

                "I think in America, the opposite of poverty is justice." Bryan Stevenson

                by gfre on Sat Oct 05, 2013 at 07:10:24 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Are you under the impression that private employer (0+ / 0-)

                  let you work for free or that you would want to if you were furloughed?

                  They also don't let you work for free - they legal implications aren't worth it.

                  If you want to make up your hours and there is work to be done then I think the government should let you do so.  Of course, the same rules regarding OT, etc. should apply to you as they do to those of us in the private sector - you don't get to work so many hours that you get OT pay.

                  You should not get special treatment.  You should get treated like private sector workers get treated.

                •  There is just no way that you should get paid ... (0+ / 0-)

                  ... if you didn't do any work. Bottom line is that for a federal employee, this shutdown is now a paid vacation, and that's wrong.

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