Eligibility & Benefits
In Tennessee, the first eligibility requirement states that you must be unemployed due to no fault of your own. Next, you must be physically able to work and available to take on any new job opportunity that is suited to your job skills. In contrast, you may still be eligible if your work hours have been significantly reduced, and you are now working part-time hours. In this case, you can be eligible for UI as long as you are earning less than your potential weekly benefit amount. Moreover, you must be actively seeking employment and maintain a work search record. As part of this work search requirement, you are required to send out a minimum of three job applications per week for each week that you wish to receive UI benefits.
There is also a monetary requirement, which is based on your earnings from a specific 12-month period known as your “base period.” This base period will be determined by taking the first four quarters out of the last five completed quarters in which you earned an income in Tennessee. The quarter in which you earned the highest wages is known as the “high quarter.” Without including this quarter, your total wages of your base period must be equal to six times your weekly benefit amount or greater than $900. Although the weekly benefit amount is determined on a case-by-case basis, your maximum benefit amount can be determined by taking one-fourth of your total wages from your base period. However, this amount cannot be more than the state’s maximum benefit amount, which is currently $275 per week.
The number of weeks you can receive benefits is also dependent upon your earnings from your base period. In Tennessee, you can claim UI benefits for a maximum of 26 weeks in one benefit year, which is a 52-week period. However, you will not receive payments without filing a weekly claim certification for each week that you wish to benefit from the UI program. Thereafter, the payments will be made through direct deposit or through the Tennessee Automated Payment debit card program (TAP).
How to File a Claim
Your first option is to submit an application online, which should take no more than 30 minutes to complete. You can also apply by contacting the UI Claim Center at 1-877-813-0950. You will need to have the following items:
- Social Security Number, address, telephone number, and personal email address
- Driver’s license or identification card
- Employment history from the last 18 months, which includes the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all your previous employers
- You must also have the reasons for separation from all previous positions
- Banking information if you wish to receive payments through direct deposit
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What are some of the reasons why unemployment benefits are denied?
Each unemployment case is unique and all applicants go through an approval process before benefits are awarded. Some of the reasons why a person may be denied benefits are:
- Being fired for work-related misconduct
- You voluntarily quit without good cause
- You failed to seek or accept suitable work
How will I receive my unemployment benefits in Tennessee?
In the state of Tennessee, you can receive your unemployment benefits in 2 ways, direct deposit or through a Way2Go debit card. With a Way2Go debit card, you can contact customer service to obtain your balance or to ask questions. You get automatic notifications when funds are added to your account and you can use your card anywhere MasterCard is accepted.
When should I file for unemployment?
In Tennessee, you should try to file for unemployment benefits as soon as you lose your job. The longer you wait to file your claim, the longer you will have to wait to receive your first benefits payment. Keep in mind that the state does not take into consideration the time between the day you lost your job and the day you file for unemployment.