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Max. Weekly Benefit Amount
$275
Max. Weeks of Benefits
26
Current Jobless Rate
3.5%
Max Weekly Benefit Amount
$275
Max Weeks of benefits
26
Current Jobless rate
3.5%

Updated : September 6th, 2019

Tennessee Unemployment Benefits

Unemployment Insurance (UI) in Tennessee is provided to those who have lost their jobs for no fault of their own in the state of Tennessee. The purpose of UI benefits is to help those who have lost their jobs for ‘no cause’ to gain some monetary stability during the time of transition from job to another.

The Department of Labor & Workforce Development (DLWD) in Tennessee oversees the functions of assessing the eligibility of the applicants for UI benefits. It also organizes training programs and provides other unemployment related services to job-seekers.

Eligibility to Apply for UI Benefits in Tennessee

In order to gain eligibility for unemployment benefits in Tennessee, the applicants must display that they meet all the qualification requirements. The qualification requirements are largely grouped into three parts- monetary eligibility, job-separation requirement, and maintaining eligibility after qualification.

Monetary Eligibility

The DLWD has established some fixed monetary criteria to qualify for UI benefits. The gist of the monetary criteria is that the applicants must have worked for a minimum period in the base period. In the base period, the applicants are expected to have earned a minimum amount of wages as prescribed by the DLWD.

It would be beneficial for the applicants to acquaint themselves with some basic topics to get a better understanding of the monetary eligibility requirements:

Calendar quarters: A calendar quarter is a three-month period in a base period. A year will consist of four calendar quarters – January to March, April to June, July to September, and October to December.

Base year: The state of Tennessee uses a standard base period to validate if the applicants qualify for UI benefits. A standard base period will be the first four of the last five calendar quarters before the quarter you filed for benefits.

Qualifying Wages: Qualifying wages are the wages that an applicant is expected to earn during the base period. To qualify for unemployment benefits in Tennessee, the applicants must have received a minimum of $780.01 in each of the 2 quarters.

Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA): Weekly benefit amount is the amount that the applicant will receive if he/she qualifies for UI benefits.

The UI benefits are determined by the wages earned by the applicant during the base period. The wages earned by the applicant during the base period, the higher will be the WBA that an applicant may receive. However, there is a maximum limit for WBA set by the state. Maximum weekly benefit amount that an applicant can earn in Tennessee is $275.

You are allowed to earn $50 or 25 percent of your weekly benefit amount, whichever is higher, without risking a deduction from your weekly benefits. For instance, if you received a weekly benefit amount of $275, you may earn up to 25 percent of it, which is $68.75 and still receive the full $275 benefits at the end of the week.

If your weekly earnings are beyond this prescribed limit, the excessive amount will be deducted from your WBA. If in the event, your weekly earnings are more than the WBA itself, your benefits will be stopped by the DLWD.

Find out more about eligibility

Job Separation

Once the applicant establishes his/her monetary eligibility, the DLWD will then look into how the applicant separated from his/her previous employment. The DLWD has grouped the reasons for separation into three broad groups-

Lack of Work: If an applicant was laid off, or the position was abolished, or the business closed, or the plant shut down, his/her case would be considered as ‘lack of work’.

Quit: If an applicant voluntarily quit a suitable work without good cause attributable to the employer, his/her case will be considered a ‘quit’.

Discharged?: If an applicant was dismissed for violation of company rules, neglected given job responsibilities, etc., his/her case will be considered as ‘discharged’.

If an applicant is found to have quit from the previous organization or was discharged for work-related misconduct, he/she will not qualify for UI benefits. It is mandatory that the applicant must not have lost his/her job due to any attributable fault of the applicants, which includes voluntary quitting from employment.

Eligibility Calculator

Eligibility requirements – overview

Maintaining Eligibility

Any applicant will be qualified for unemployment benefits in Tennessee once he/she satisfies monetary requirements and job-separation requirements. However, it does not guarantee that the applicant will receive UI benefits during the benefit period unhindered.

If it is found that the applicant has not followed the prescribed guidelines or is found to have used unethical or illegal methods to receive UI benefits, the said benefits will immediately stand canceled.

Some of the reasons that could lead to the termination of unemployment benefits in Tennessee are:

  • You were not physically able to work during your benefit period. There are special provisions for individuals who become ill or disabled after filing an initial claim. As a result, the claimant must bring any such cases to the notice of DLWD immediately Failing to do so will lead to the cancelation of UI benefits
  • You are not available to work during your benefit period. If you fail to show that you were available for work and were regularly in search of suitable employment through documenting work search activity each week, you will lose your UI benefits. However, there are two exceptions to this rule-
    • The first exception is that you were attending a DLWD-approved training program
    • The second exception is that you are facing a temporary lay-off, and have a definite return-to-work date from your employer
  • If you fail to contact at least three prospective employers each week as a part of work search activity unless exempted by the DLWD
  • If it is discovered that you have lied about your wages or previous employment details or regarding your work-search activity, your UI benefits will be canceled
  • Rejecting to accept a suitable job offer without a good reason will also lead to the cancelation of UI benefits
  • Your UI benefits will be canceled if it is found that you have participated in a labor dispute other than a lockout that is in progress

Find out on job search requirements

How to Apply For UI Benefits in Tennessee

In order to apply for unemployment benefits in Tennessee, applicants must have the following documents:

Online:

You must submit an online application for avail UI benefits in the state of Tennessee. To submit your application, log on to https://www.jobs4tn.gov/vosnet/Default.aspxand start your application by entering your personal details and your previous employment information.

In the event, if you are not equipped with the required devices to submit an online application, reach out to the DLWD on 844-224-5818 to find out about alternative methods to apply for benefits.

Mobile App:

The state of Tennessee also offers a unique service where it allows the claimants to apply for benefits through a mobile app. The Jobs4TN, from which you can apply for UI benefits, can be downloaded on App Store or Google Play.

Learn how to claim weekly benefits

UI Benefit Amount

To find out the approximate UI benefits amount that you may be eligible to receive in Tennessee, use the Unemployment Insurance Benefits Calculator. This gives you a close estimation of the benefits that you may be eligible to receive.

Benefits Calculator


State Name: Tennessee
Number of Dependants:


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$25000
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$25000
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$25000
Disclaimer: The estimates are good in faith and accuracy is not guaranteed. We are not liable for any loss and damages caused by using the tools on our website. This calculator is here to assist you in evaluating what you might obtain if you are entitled to receive benefits. We make no promises that the sum you receive will be equal to what the calculator illustrates.

Know more about the Benefits Calculator

Things to Know After Filing An Application

There are various rules and regulations that one needs to be aware of to receive UI benefits unhindered every week. The DLWD also provides various training opportunities and other job-seeking opportunities in its portal.

Hence, to be aware of the regulations as well as the opportunities, the claimant must be informed about some important information post filing for application to have a fruitful benefit period.

Overpayments and Fraud

An overpayment occurs when the claimants draw more benefits amount from the DLWD than what they are eligible to receive. If it is found that you have received an overpayment from the DLWD in your benefit period, the department will mail a Notice of Overpayment to you, addressing the occurrence of an overpayment.

The notice will contain information on how the overpayment occurred, the amount of overpayment received, and the penalties that the claimant may have to pay. It will also contain your right to appeal against the decision of the department.

The DLWD has recognized some of the reasons for the occurrence of the overpayment. The following reasons should help to realize the common pitfalls and steer away from unethical practices-

Improper Wage Reporting: At the time of a claimant’s weekly certification, a question is asked on how much money was earned by the claimant in the previous week. If the gross amount of wages are not entered (even if they have not yet been paid) or is entered incorrectly, this could result in an overpayment.

Failure to Report your “Return to Work” dates: Applicants must make sure that any new employment accepted since the previous claim must be mentioned during certification.

Every week, during the process of certification for the respective week’s UI benefits, the following question will be asked – “Have you taken a job and were laid off, quit or discharged since your last claim was filed?”

If you were employed for just one day, you will technically be considered re-employed. Even if you quit the job just the following day, your answer for the above question must be a”YES”. which means you may not be eligible for unemployment benefits since you quit that job.

An Employer’s Appeal: If your employer contests the decision of providing you UI benefits and wins the appeal, all the benefits you received until this point will be considered an overpayment. Since the appeals process may take several weeks, the benefits you were paid would need to be returned to the UI Recovery Unit.

The above-mentioned reasons can take place with or without your knowledge, but it would still be considered an overpayment. The claimant’s intention, however, will decide the category of the overpayment, which can be either a non-fraud overpayment or fraud overpayment.

non-fraud overpayment: If you receive an excessive amount for reasons that you are not directly responsible or due to mistakes you committed unintentionally, it will be considered as a non-fraud overpayment.

In this case, you are liable to replay the entire overpayment you received. Only cases of hardship may be considered by DLWD for a waive-off.

Fraud overpayment: This occurs when you intentionally provide false information or withhold important information to receive UI benefits. Such an act will be considered as a very serious offense and can result in a criminal prosecution against the claimant.

In the case of fraud overpayment, you will not only be asked to repay the excessive amount received, but you will also have to pay a penalty to the DLWD.

Benefits Extension

There are no extension programs available in the state of Tennessee as of 2019. Claimants are advised to contact the DLWD to find out more on the reemployment programs before the end of the benefit period.

Job Training Assistance

The DLWD provides a host of opportunities to job-seekers in the form of financial aid, grants and various training programs for those who are seeking to improve their skills.

American Job Center Scholarships: These scholarships are given to those are looking to go back to school to complete a program or get re-trained in a new skill. The training program must be for a job listed on the targeted occupations list for Tennessee.

Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA): The TAA program is designed to help those who have lost their jobs or whose working hours are reduced as a result of increased imports. The program offers a variety of benefits and services to trade-affected individuals. The agenda of the program is to help these individuals find suitable job opportunities at the earliest.

SNAP Employment & Training: The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Employment and Training are designed to help the SNAP participants obtain job readiness skills.

The DLWD provides various other programs as per the requirements of the job-seekers. Contact the department on 844-224-5818 if you have any specific needs in mind that need more clarification.

Know more job training opportunities in TN

Tennessee Office Locations and Phone Numbers


The applicants may reach out to the department by placing a call to get their doubts cleared:

TN Unemployment Office Phone Numbers

DLWD 844-224-5818
Overpayments repayment 844-817-0619
Report fraud (615) 206-3116
Report suspected UI fraud (615) 741-2346
To obtain a release form (615) 741-3170
Equal Opportunity Officers (EOOs) (615) 253-1331
Re-Employment Services (844) 224-5818
Request for 1099G form 615-442-7009

You may also visit your nearest unemployment office if your questions persist. Click here to locate the nearest unemployment office to your location.

Frequently Asked Question

Q. How long does it take for my claim to be processed?
It must generally take around 21 days to process individual unemployment claims. A normally followed schedule is provided below to show what happens from the time UI benefits is filed, up until the time the decision is made.
Days 1 - 7: As you file a claim, a letter will be mailed to your previous employer to verify the cause of separation. As per the law, a response will be due in seven business days.
Days 8 - 10: If the DLWD receives a response from the previous employer, the applicant will be summoned to collect more information, if needed. If the employer's letter is not received, the law requires two additional business days for a response.
Days 11 - 13: All information is gathered and sent to Adjudication for a decision.
Days 14 - 21: An impartial decision based on the evidence as it pertains to the law. For all initial claims, the first week you certify after filing is referred to as a "waiting week." You are not paid for this week unless you certify and are eligible for 4 consecutive weeks. In the meantime, complete your weekly certification on Jobs4TN.
Q. What is the Treasury Offset Program?

Claimants who have received an overpayment in unemployment compensation are obligated to repay the excessive amount with the applicable penalty to DLWD. The Agency is federally mandated to submit unpaid balances to the Treasury Offset Program (TOP) for payment. Debt submitted through TOP can be offset by the debtor's federal tax refund or other payments from the federal government.

Q. Why and how would I need to file an appeal?

  • An appeal can be filed if you have received a denial letter and disagree with agency's decision regarding your unemployment compensation claim.
  • Appeals must be filed within 15 days of the mail date on the letter.
  • Late appeals will only be allowed if you can show, in a hearing that you had good cause.

There are 2 ways an appeal can be filed:
  • You can file the appeal online at JOBS4TN.gov ; or
  • You can fax or mail the Appeal in writing to
    Appeals Tribunal, Department of Labor and Workforce Development
    220 French Landing Drive
    Nashville, TN 37243
    Fax: (615) 741-8933

Q. What if I don't have access to a computer?
Filing an unemployment claim and the required weekly certifications will soon be managed through your Jobs4TN.gov account. If you do not have constant access to a computer, we recommend any of the following alternatives.
Mobile App
You can download the Jobs4TN app to apply and certify from your mobile device. The links for download is given under 'How to Apply For UI Benefits in Tennessee'.
American Job Center
Visit the resource room at an American Job Center near you. The computers are equipped with Internet access and staff who can direct you to Jobs4TN.gov to begin filing a claim.
Q. How do I request a Form 1099G for prior years?

Form 1099Gs for previous years are also available by sending a written request, including name, address, date of birth, Social Security number, and phone number, to:

Special Services Unit
Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development
220 French Landing Drive
Nashville, TN 37243-1002
Fax 615-253-4649

or request a copy by phoning Special Services at:

615-442-7009

Q. How do I report this unemployment information on my income taxes?
Refer to the instructions on Federal Form 1040. In addition, IRS Publication 525 provides instruction on how to report the repayments of unemployment compensation benefit overpayments. For questions about potential tax liability or how to report tax information, please contact an IRS representative at 1-800-829-1040.
Q. What happens after I file for Unemployment?
After applying for Unemployment, you will receive a written notice or email from the department stating your application has been received. Your notification preference (U.S. Postal versus electronically) is set during the unemployment application process.

Questions & Answers

  1. Need verification for my insurance I am still unemployed. Where can I find this information or can I get a fax sent to them?

    1. Please call the claims center of the Unemployment Office in your state on the phone numbers provided for further information.

    1. If you filed online, please log in and explore options to do the same.

      Otherwise, please call the claims center for further advise regarding address change.

  2. Just wanted to make sure before I fax my proof for my last name to be changed, I need to make sure since my DOB isn’t on the decree I send my birth certificate. And same when showing proof that I have primary rights with my girls. But Sd u need to put my name and DOB ON THeir PAPER work showing they belong with my unemployment claim. Correct?

  3. I filed an unemployment claim and locked my pin. I have faxed in 2 requests to unlock my pin but I tried to call 48 hrs later and nothing. I can’t get through by calling 253-0800 or 877-813-0950 to file my weekly searches. I’ve called 532-1800, 800-689-9799 & 800-262-8094 trying to get a hold of anyone who can help me. I’m going to try the Career Center in Gallatin looking for help but not sure what they can help me with.

    1. Keep trying. A Career Center might have a direct line to the unemployment office or allow you to fax your request to the unemployment office. Be sure to put your name, social security number and phone number on all pages of the fax.

  4. our record indicate a break In my claim of the week of 8/11/13 to 8/18/13.I was ask to work a week of vacation the week of 8/5/13 thur 8/9/13this was not a call back to work our recall is not till 9/2/13.So what do I need to do to able to start be my weekly claims

  5. i have been filing for the last 8 weeks and still have not heard anything but still pending when i call. all the other numbers are not accepting call who can i talk to for questions i need answered. i had surgery on left hand and the company i worked for had no lite duty for me nor did the temp service i was working thru so i started filing im now so far into debt with just my monthly bills i dont know what to do. if there is anyone from unemployment reading this please call me

  6. the store where I work is being sold. Do I have to accept a position with the new owner? If I do not accept the job, will it disqualify me from getting UI benefits?

  7. When I call in weekly for my benefits the past 2 weeks I’m told my pin is locked need help phone number no help Maury County Does Not offer this help service any longer PLEASE HELP

  8. Half way through online application, I got an Application error . It gave 615-253-0800 and 877-813-0950 to contact. These numbers require a pin#. I didn’t get pin# prior to the application error. I attempted to start over but the system would not let me. Who can assist me in getting my application complete,and to receive pin#?

  9. I can’t change my pin.I don;t have a pin.It says my weekly benefit amount of 189 is wrong on automated system.Can i have a phone number to talk to a real person.

  10. I attempted to file for unemployment online on 7/22/13. When I got to the PIN screen I was disconnected from the server. When I call about estabishing a PIN and CORRECTING MY SEPERATION DATE it will not let me continue without a PIN number. Without this correction I will automatically be denied unnecessarily. Please advise on who I can speak with about making this important correction. Thank you!!!!!!

  11. Was employed by URS Corp in Chattanooga, TN for 7 years. I accepted a position in Kansas City, KS after the company planned to close the Chattanooga, TN office. After a year of commuting every two weeks from Chattanooga to KC and insufficient amount of work in KC, I opted to retired early from URS Corp. as of 7/15/13.

  12. I NEED TO FIND OUT WHY I HAVE NOT RECIVED MY UNEMPLOYMENT CHECKS YET, I HAVE BEEN OUT OF WORK SINCE 6-26-2013. AND I HAVE FILED EACH WEEK AND THEY KEEP TELLING ME ITS IN PENDING STATUS, PLEASE E-MAIL ME BACK AND LET ME KNOW WHAT GONG ON. THANKS YOU.

    1. I NEED TO FIND OUT ABOUT MY UNMENPLOYMENT CHECKS, I CAN CALLED THE PHONE NO BUT ITS TAKE FOREVER FOR SOMEONE TO GET BUT WITH ME SO CAN YOU PLEASE FIND OUT WHATS GOING ON.

  13. I have never drawn unemployment but I am trying to. I wasn’t sure if it goes back 12 mts or 18 because I have more paid in on the 18 mts also I am having a really hard time filing a claim is there a number I can call to actually get through to someone?

    1. Hi Koty,

      Base period is defined as first four of the last five calendar quarters. This means last 18 months will work fine in your case.

  14. I have run out of my unemployment and can’t find work. Can I apply for a extension for the ,State of TN since North Carolina don’t offer any extensions. So how can I apply for a extension from the state of TN

    1. Hi Debra,

      If you were receiving your unemployment compensation from the state of North Carolina, I do not see a possibility of you shifting to Tennessee. Unemployment benefits are provided in the state where you worked. Please let me know if you found a possible way to do this.

  15. how in Gods name do you file for a extension for unemployment ??? We have called we have looked every where on your page to see where we are to go and can find nothing to help us . It feels like you all don’t want us to file and have done every thing to make it hard for people to file for anything. If you guys think this is easy for the people that have no computer experience you are wrong . These guys that work construction and lower income jobs have hell .

    1. Hi Fredrick,

      Looks like you are right. We are having a hard time finding out how to file for extension in Tennessee. Usually, once a recipient exhausts regular benefits, the unemployment office sends across a letter stating their eligibility for extension. This link might be of some help –> http://www.tn.gov/labor-wfd/forms/EUCWorkSearchLog.pdf
      Sorry for the inconvenience on our site.

  16. i have exhausted my tier 1 benef=its. i am looking for work but am 64 yrs old and its hard. are there any extension of benefits i can apply for in tn?

  17. I am 70 years old, drawing social security and a small pension from another source. I have been working full time for about 48 years and have not drawn any unemployment compensation. Should I lose my job, am I eligible for unemployment compensation?
    Thank you

  18. I was recently demoted from a managment position, and forced to take a lesser paying job. I went from $9 per hour to min wage, also my hours were cut from 48 to 28. Do I have grounds for a claim? If so what all info do i need to make this claim?

  19. I have been attempting to call the listed numbers but have never gotten anything but a recording saying they are too busy to take calls. Is there an office I can call who will answer? I have questions that I need answered.
    Thanks

  20. I had filed a UI claim online after waiting 3-4 months for it to show in the drop-down box that lists the employers you’ve had in the past. It took this long to show that employer, otherwise it will tell you that you must call in to file a claim… which is very cumbersome, so I waited. Shortly after filing the claim I found work temporarily at Walmart during the holiday. I quit certifying after 2 weeks, however I kept getting letters telling me to contact the UI office for further info about my seperation or I may loose benifits etc. I thought if you quit certifying it would automatically cancel the claim. The employer I initially filed the claim for (last employer before new job) was disputing the “lack of work” reason I listed saying I was discharged for a policy violation. I didn’t get a seperation notice so that was what I used for the layoff… “lack of work”. I didn’t care anyhow because I hadn’t received a check yet and thought the claim would be cancelled after not certifying and finding other work. This was evidently not the case. I recently spoke to a caseworker via phone and they said I had to file an “ad claim” to re-start benefits. Well, another quarter had passed during this time which pushed another quarter in the place of an empty quarter I had on my monetary determination. Come to find out, when I re-apply for being laid off from the newer job, they will not consider the new quarter… they tell me they will only go by my initial determination (where I filed from the old job and didn’t receive any money)and the quarters that fell during this time, and the new quarter that is now part of the 1st 4 of my last 5 completed quarters is obsolete. Can anyone tell me why they will not just let me file the new claim & cancel the old one? They told me I had to file what they called an “ad claim”, which I assume is just re-opening the old one. This doesn’t make sense and I would appreciate the help if anyone can explain any of this to me.

  21. I have kept a accurate work search log since I have received unemployment. how do I get a unemployment counselor. Ny benefits don’t run out until first week of February 2013. What i understand is before your last 2 weeks checks are exhausted I’m to call my unemployment counselor. I don’t have one. Do i continue to call in to certify to see if there is an extension granted for me. I’ve tried so hard applying on line. face to face, phone calls , filling out applications. No good results. I’ve cried and I don’t know what to do. Can you help me please. My number is 865 454-5662

  22. i have been waiting for a decision on my unemployment for several weeks now. no one can tell me what the problem is. all i get is that they are behind on claims. is there anything i can do to help speed up the process? am broke and christmas is coming.

  23. I am currently receiving unemployment benefits. I have a part-time job offer. Need to know would the employer be taxed or hit for unemployment insurance benefits. Thanks, in advance need information.

  24. My husband has been receiving unemployment and going to school. As a side job he coaches softball for a junior high school. He gets $1000.00 at the end of the year for all his work? Do we have to claim this as over a weekly amount since it is one check that is spread over 180 days of school equaling much less than the allotted daily amount? I need help with this question soon because he should be receiving the check in the next few weeks.
    thanks

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