UPDATE: Federal workers file unemployment claims

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - Nearly one thousand federal workers applied for unemployment benefits in Virginia during the week following the federal government shutdown, according to the Virginia Employment Commission.

A spokesperson said they received 959 applications directly from furloughed federal workers from Oct. 1 to Oct. 7; however, they saw an even larger jump in the total number of claims.

The V.E.C. said they were sent 3,500 more applications over this past week than typical for a five-week period.  Federal contract workers were likely a factor in the spike, a spokesperson said.

Despite the jump, Virginia saw fewer claims than other locations nearby.  The Associated Press reported the D.C. Department of Employment Services saw more than 10,000 claims in approximately the same time period.

The V.E.C. said their lower numbers could be due to the paper applications they asked federal workers to mail in order to apply for benefits in lieu of filing online.

Congress is expected to pass a measure that would fund back pay for federal workers affected by the shutdown.  The V.E.C. said they have already fielded calls about how to cancel a benefit application.  In order to do so, an individual can request a form from the V.E.C.

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