Hawaii budget has $2+ billion worth of federal funding

Published On: Dec 24 2013 04:59:19 AM HST   Updated On: Oct 04 2013 04:58:36 PM HST

Hawaii's budget has more than $2 billion worth of federally-funded programs including Medicaid, subsidized lunches and education programs, just to name a few.

State officials say there's no reduction in programs that are federally funded right now.  But, they're carefully monitoring the impact the federal government shutdown could have on the state budget.

"Each department director at [Thursday's] emergency cabinet meeting has been tasked with assessing the impact of the shutdown on their federally-funded programs and positions," said Actin Governor Shan Tsutsui. "It is going to take some time to fully understand the true fiscal and social impact on our state."

State officials are concerned the state won't be reimbursed since it uses state money for some of the programs up front.  Department of Budget and Finance Director Kalbert young says in the storm term, it won't be as much of an impact.

"We are critically worried how long the shutdown lasts and whether state will be made whole -- reimbursed from federal government once feds are reinstated," said Young.

State officials say they do not have any immediate financial figures on the impact of the shutdown, but hey have asked all department directors for assessments and plan to meet next week.

Federal employees who are unemployed due to the government shutdown may apply for unemployment insurance benefits.  However, if Congress ultimately acts to retroactively pay federal employees that were furloughed, then those employees will likely be required to reimburse the state for benefits received.

"We empathize with federal workers who are unable to work at this time through no fault of their own, especially given the uncertainty of the duration of the shutdown," said Department of Labor and Industrial Relations Director Dwight Takamine.  "All federal workers eligible for benefits need to consider their own circumstances carefully in deciding whether to apply for benefits.  If individuals do apply for benefits, we highly recommend they file online to avoid long wait times on the telephone or at local offices."

To apply for benefits online visit http://uiclaims.hawaii.gov from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m,, Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends and holidays.  People can also call Hawaii Teleclaims at 643-5555 from 7:45 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday.

The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations has created a page on its website where furloughed workers can go for more information.  The webiste address is: http://labor.hawaii.gov/ui/federal-shutdown-unemployment-benefits-for-furloughed-workers/

To apply for benefits, furloughed federal workers will need to provide:
•        Personal information such as social security number, address, and date of birth.
•        Employment information such as employer’s name, location, and the address of your payroll office.
•        Proof of employment and wages to establish monetary entitlement.  Make copies of SF8 and SF50 (if available), earnings and leave statement for the one-year period prior to 10/1/13, W-2 for 2012, and furlough notice to give to the UI office for their records. These documents can be delivered mailed, faxed or emailed to the local claims office. Go to http://labor.hawaii.gov/ui/contact/ for contact information.

The DLIR's Research and Statistics Office estimates that there are approximately 9,000 non-defense, federal employees in Hawaii, although it is unknown how many of those are considered essential by their agency and still working.

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