Tennessee Unemployment Benefit Questions

How much does the State of Tennessee pay as unemployment benefits?

If you begin collecting Tennessee unemployment benefits, one of the first questions you will have is how much you will receive in payments from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DLWD). The goal is to provide claimants with enough money to take care of basic needs until they can find a new job. However, how much you actually receive depends on how much you earned most recently and how long you are eligible.

This maximum is determined by calculating the average salary for employees in the state and dividing it by half. As of now, the maximum weekly benefit amount you can receive from Tennessee unemployment benefits is $275 per week.

If I received severance pay, will I still be able to collect UI?

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development is in charge of providing unemployment compensation to Tennesseans who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. If candidates for unemployment insurance benefits meet certain criteria, they may collect unemployment compensation even if they are receiving severance pay from their previous employer.

If you are working while collecting unemployment benefits, you must report your wages each week as you are accruing them, not when you receive the paycheck for that work. Additionally, you must repay any overpayment of benefits to your local unemployment office. All unemployment benefits must be reported as taxable income on your federal tax return.

If I exhaust my regular benefits, how can I file for the first Federal extension that is available?

Once you have exhausted your entitlement to your regular UI claim, you may be eligible to file the first extension. The TDLWD (Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development) will automatically file the first extension and send you notification. No action is required on your part.

When the first federal extension is filed, a notice and claim forms will be sent to eligible claimants. Claimants should continue certifying by phone or Internet.

More Questions??  Read Benefit Q & A Section

71 thoughts on “Tennessee Unemployment Benefit Questions”

  1. Thomas says:

    I just finished certifying for the fourth time and found out I should be expecting a payment this week. Will I be paid for the previous three weeks in my first check or just one week?

    1. Sam says:


      Please call the Claims Center for precise information on the payment.

  2. Latrese says:

    I have a service animal that travels with me while im at work a 3 wks ago i was sent home and told that i cannot return to work with the service animal until i provide the proper medical documentation, Ive submitted that information 2 wks ago and requested a employment accomodation. I call everyday asking if im cleared to return to work or if my job is still available to me and they keep saying yes and someone will call me ..well its been 3 wks can i file for partial unemployment until they say i can return to work?

    1. Sam says:

      Since you’re technically still employed, I am not sure if you can draw benefits during this period. Please call the Unemployment Office.

  3. Bill says:

    I have accepted a voluntary severance due to a workforce reduction plan at my company. I will receive a lump sum severance and then will be receiving a small pension starting the next month. Will I be able to collect unemployment? Thanks.

    1. Sam says:


      Please wait until the severance payout ends. You can apply towards the end of it.

  4. Connie says:

    If I am drawing unemployment compensation and I withdraw from my retirement fund will this effect my unemployment comp payment amount?

    1. Sam says:


      It will have a bearing. Please call the Claims Center for a discussion.

  5. Kathy says:

    If I came back to a company and worked 5 months after taking a year off for a family emergency, previous working for the company for 18 years, and the company closes, can I get unemployment?

    1. Sam says:


      You will not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

  6. Merlin says:

    If i have retirement benefits from another state and i am unemployed from a job in tennessee, will i be able to draw unemployment in tennessee and collect retirement benefits from florida.

    1. Sam says:


      You should be able to collect both. Please call the Unemployment Office on Tenessee for clarification.

  7. megan nelson says:

    will my unemployment be reduced if I draw social security

    1. Sam says:


      That is correct. It will have a monetary impact on UI benefits.

      1. Susan ThompsonS1 says:

        How much will your unemployment be reduced if you are drawing social security

        1. Sam says:


          It depends on multiple factors which will be determined during the processing stage. Please speak to the Unemployment Office for details.

  8. Bill W says:

    If I am involuntary separated from my company due to relocation and I receive a lump sum severance, am I eligible to receive unemployment.

    1. Sam says:


      You should be eligible to claim UI benefits right away since the severance was a lump sum payment.

  9. Margret Myrick says:

    I was laid off due to outsourcing and received 8 weeks severance pay. I filed for unemployment and was denied. I appealed and received a call from the state office telling me that I would be eligible after the 8 weeks were up. I continued certifying and have already received my first check. Now I have received a notice that I am scheduled for a telephone hearing. Is this because I appealed and this is just procedural?

    1. Martin says:

      Ideally, you can only apply and receive after the end of Severance Pay. I think the payment is an error. Please call the Claims Center to report and take further instructions.

  10. Terrie slemp says:

    Martin :
    I’m very much aware of my responsibility regarding filing for my unemployment. You didn’t answer my question, I asked why it was taking so long? Its very difficult when you’ve worked all your life and never used the services from unemployment and now that I need to utilize it, it’s taking a very long time. It’s supposed to help people get through the rough patch until they can find other employment. And as far as your comment about looking on the website to find answers, there’s nothing answered on the site.

    1. Martin says:


      I can understand your frustration. Unfortunately, we can’t do much since this is a private forum. We do not hold any association with the Labor Department in your state and hence do not know the reason for the delay.

  11. Terrie slemp says:

    I filed for my unemployment on 10/02/16, and still have not received any money. I have certified for three weeks. It’s so frustrating, I have to pay my bills, just don’t know why it’s taking so long.. Can someone please answer me regarding this. Thank you

    1. Martin says:

      Please note that only you’re responsible for ensuring monies come in as expected. Please chase the claims center on the phone numbers provided at regular intervals for an update.

  12. Dennis says:

    I was hired on at a restaurant part time, but I have not had any hours scheduled since Sept 1st. When I call to ask about hours, I am told to call back later, everytime. I have called back nearly every day. Am I entitled to unemployment or some kind of compensation? They say I am on their payroll still. 9 1/2 hours over the course of 2 1/2 weeks doesn’t cut it when I was told that I would get 18 to 20 hours per week.

    1. Martin says:

      You can be eligible to claim partial UI benefits.

      Please call the Unemployment Office to confirm and apply accordingly.

  13. Vicki Cupp says:

    I filed my unemployment claim on 6-12-16 and have just made it through a chat thing on the computer last week with a woman asking me to give her several bits of information and trying to gather that information just a few seconds later she stated that she couldn’t hold the line when I asked her to give me a second to get my letter with my information on it. Well I did make it within the split second that I was allowed after being on line for a very long time waiting to talk to someone. She told me that I would receive notification in the mail of the decision. Next a woman called my phone number with a very rude voice with the total call being 7 seconds long saying her name and it was about my UI claim and to call her back at my convenience but she left no information as a phone number. I listened to my voicemail and got envelope information on the call and called that number and its a fax machine number. Getting unemployment is very very complicated and the people that you do get to talk to are very rude and act as if your unemployment was coming out if their paychecks. I’m only qualified to get two weeks worth but our utilities are getting disconnected and we have no groceries. Please help me and my family

    1. Martin says:

      Well, I can understand your concern. It can get testing at times. All we can say is, keep chasing at regular intervals to get an update.

      You may even want to consider the option of visiting the nearest Unemployment Office for an update.

  14. TB says:

    My last day of work was 1/31/16 due to plant shut down & no fault of mine. I received 12 weeks of full pay as severance pay because of my time with the company which just ended 4/22/16. Do I show my separation date as the day my severance ended or as the last day I worked?

    1. Martin says:

      Please call the claims center/customer service of the labor dept. in your state for further information in this regard.

      We do not have a definite answer in this regard.

  15. michael says:

    after doing sunday work seach how long does it take for your money to post on your debit card

    1. Martin says:

      If the claim is your first one, it will take about 7-10 days. Otherwise, it will credit as per the timelines.

  16. Tim says:

    I received unemployment benefits for the beginning of 2015……I am awaiting my tax form in order to file my taxes. But have not received it yet. Is there some way I can get it online?

    1. Martin says:

      Please visit the official website of the Labor Department in your state.

      Nearly all states let you download 1099-G online.

  17. Glade Willis says:

    I only worked 20 hours the week of Thanksgiving. My employer claims to have filed unemployment for me. It has been nearly a month and still nothing. Is there a way to find out if it was really filed? I have been with that company for 2 years and made well under $275 for that week. My wait period was during out 4th of July shutdown. Please help!

    1. Martin says:

      Call the claims center of the Unemployment Office in your state for details of the claim.

  18. James says:

    If I cash out a 401k, will that affect unemployment benefits?

    1. Martin says:

      It will have a bearing. Please check with the labor authorities in your state.

  19. 6159309834 says:

    ruby emailed me and said she tried to contact me and sent a message but I did not receive one. m question is why I did not receive the back psy benefits after my appeal went through?

    1. Martin says:

      Please call on the phone numbers provided. We are not associated with the labor dept in your state.

  20. Robin says:

    I work in Tennessee but live in Mississippi. Where do I file for unemployment?

    1. Martin says:

      Please consider filing from TN, the state where your employment is based.

  21. Ashley Brown says:

    If I have certified for 3 weeks and my benefits was approved after the 3 time certifying will I still receive payments for those weeks?

    1. Jeff says:

      Not sure if it can be retro.

      Please check with the labor authorities in your state by calling them.

  22. Jared says:

    I was recently working full time with my current employer but they have dropped me to under 20 hours a week. Mind you I am a minimum wage employee that makes only 7.50 an hour and after taxes and child support(I pay $239.16 a month which is directed garnished from my pay) that leaves me with nowhere near enough to be able to bills, rent and other personal needs, basically to support myself in general. Would I be eligible for unemployment or partial employment benefits? Because of my employer doing this I am in a huge bind and if I am not eligible for unemployment or partial employment benefits I may end up HOMELESS within the next few weeks.

    1. Adrian says:

      We can understand your plight.

      You can be eligible for Unemployment Compensation towards any reduction in working hours. Please call the labor authorities in your state and apply accordingly.

  23. Chenille says:

    will I be able to file for unemployment if the reason I had to resign from my job is a medical reason PTSD/anxiety which I got from a robbery on the job?

    1. Adrian says:

      Depends. Generally, personal reasons such as medical conditions do not qualify.

      However, as this is related to your work, please consult the labor authorities in your state and apply accordingly.

  24. Patsy Gibbs says:

    If my company is on an unpaid shut down for 3 weeks can I draw unemployment in the state of Tenn?

    1. Adrian says:

      You will mostly be eligible provided you meet all the eligibility criteria.

  25. Mildred Larimer says:

    May I qualify for benefits if I am employed PRN yet company refused to let me work and hires full time employees and allowes other PRN employees to work weekly, altho I have contacted them weekly asking to allow me to work. Until I had work place injury I was working 3 to 4 days a week. Since released to come back to work without restrictions I have been allowed very. I have worked one day since October, 2013. They will not lay me off, have no resome to fire me yet they will not let me work, and I need help with expense. I need to work or get benefits.

  26. Fred says:

    I was recently fired from my job but was given so many weeks severance pay so I could not draw unemployment. I decided during that time that I would sign up for Social Security benefits while still looking for full time work. Question is can I still qualify for unemployment benefits now that my severance has depleted?

  27. Jackie says:

    It has been 10 weeks since i filed my claim. A decision has still not been made yet. How long should it take to get a decision and how can I find out what is going on? You can not get through to talk to anyone on the phone.

  28. Bob says:

    How many months do you work in tn to collect

  29. Kirsten Testerman says:

    I filled for benefits but took a seasonal job which will only last for one month. Do I need to file again?

  30. Kristy says:

    Sat. Nov. 23rd was my last day working. I will be paid my final paycheck on 11/29. With this, I will receive a one time severance pay. According to TN’s website, I am not eligible for unemployment benefits the week I receive severance. So, should I file for unemployment next week, or should I go ahead and do it this week?

  31. julia says:

    Can you draw unemployment benefits if you were fired from a job for failing a drug screen?

  32. Keila says:

    I filed on October 20th online. I have received my chase card and monetary documents. I have been certifying for 4 weeks now and everytime I call to check on the staus of my claim it tells me it has not yet been determined. How much longer will I have to wait and where am I supposed to go from here?

  33. Jan Pugh says:

    I started a job in April this year. I told them at the start that my Mom was very ill and may pass away any time. I also had a week of vacation that had already been paid for that I didn’t want to lose my money on. That being said, my Mom did pass right after the week of vacation. Now they are saying due to performance being low which was caused because of my absence that they will be letting me go at the end of the month. Can I draw unemployement with that kind of dismissal. It appears to diciplinary but from circumstances beyond my control. Also I have applied for my S.S. and will start drawing in December. Can I draw the unemployment until that kicks in? Can I draw unemployment while I draw my S.S.?

    1. kathy says:

      Most states allow you to collect ss without it affecting your benefit amount. Yes, it does sound like a disciplinary dismissal but it is not.

  34. mary says:

    I am currently working but i quit a part-time job to come to this place to work also part-time,now that this job is about to go to working maybe 1 to 2 days a month can i draw unemployment / i live in tennessee so i really have no clue as to what to do.

    1. kathy says:

      Yes you are eligible to apply for unemployment. Check the state unemployment website for tips on how to proceed.

  35. donald gilliam says:

    I use the computer to file my cliam. Sunday is the day i should file, i missed filing and filed on line on monday. will i still get my benefit ckeck?

  36. donald gilliam says:

    I file my claim on sundays but did’nt get it done so I filed on monday. will I still get my check?

  37. Dennis Eckert says:

    If I live in Tennessee but work in Alabama where do I apply if I get layed off by the government shutdown?

  38. Lori Hatfield says:

    When filing on Sunday for the week ending at 12pm on Sat 7 Sept 2013, I accidently pressed 9 instead of 1 for the question were u willing and actively searching for a job. And the answer was yes but I accidently pressed 9. How can I correct this. the Unemployment office in our town no longer exists. Please help me…

    1. kathy says:

      Check the website for Tennessee Unemployment contact information.

      1. Lori Hatfield says:

        I have been trying… no one but an automated system answers and they will not except my call. Who can I contact???

  39. Kathy Woodard says:

    I would like to know when my benefits will end on my unempolyment?

    1. kathy says:

      You will have to check the unemployment office website. We are not the unemployment office.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please answer a simple Math question: *