NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions (NMDWS) on Thursday encouraged federal employees to prepare in case of a federal government shutdown on Sunday, Oct. 1.

Federal employees who may be deemed “non-essential” and furloughed due to the temporary federal government shutdown may file for unemployment insurance benefits as soon the first day the shutdown occurs, NMDWS said. NMDWS added that federal employees should have their documents ready just in case they need to apply to unemployment.

“We all hope that Congress can avoid a shutdown, but partial wage replacement will be available to non-essential federal employees who are furloughed through no fault of their own,” said NMDWS Secretary Sarita Nair. “Because federal law provides that these employees will eventually receive backpay, federal employees who choose to take unemployment benefits during the shutdown will most likely need to repay them when that backpay comes through. I will be waiving work search requirements for these individuals to make the process as simple as possible.”  

Under the 2019 Government Employee Fair Treatment Act all federal employees will receive backpay once funding resumes after a shutdown. Those employees will be required to repay the state for any UI benefits issued during the furlough period.

Individuals may apply for unemployment insurance benefits by logging in at available online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. An initial claim may also be filed over the phone by calling the UI Operations Center at 1-877-664-6984, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 pm.  

NMDWS must verify wage information for all UI applicants with their most recent employers, but if the entire federal government shuts down, then federal employers won’t give those responses. Information federal employees should ensure they have now to file an initial claim include:

  • Social Security Number (SSN)
  • Mailing address(es) and phone number(s) of employer(s) you worked for in last 18 months
  • The starting and ending dates of your last job (or jobs if more than one employer in last 18 months)
  • If you are a non-citizen, have your alien registration number and expiration date
  • If you worked during the week you are filing your claim, be sure you know the gross amount (total dollars and cents before any deductions) of your pay before filing
  • Pencil and paper to write down questions and instructions
  • Furloughed Federal Employees must provide their recent Standard Form (SF)-50, an SF-8 (if issued), their most recent federal W-2 form, and recent federal earning and leave statements (pay stub).
  • A Claimant’s Affidavit of Federal Civilian Service, Wages and Reason for Separation, ETA-935 form located on the NMDWS website at

Unemployment insurance claims become effective the Sunday of the week an individual submits their initial claim. The first week of unemployment is not a payable week as it is a “waiting week” under the provision of the unemployment insurance program. The most recent government shutdown lasted for five weeks December 22, 2018, to January 25, 2019.

Additional information about the unemployment insurance program and employment services is available on our website at