Tennessee Unemployment Eligibility

There are certain requirements that you must meet before you can receive Tennessee Unemployment Insurance benefits. Among these are the following:

Non Monetary Eligibility

  1. You must be totally or partially unemployed through no fault of your own and be approved for benefits
  2. You must be physically able to work at the time you file your first claim.
  3. You must be available to accept suitable work offered to you
  4. After filing your claim, you must serve one week of waiting for which no payment is made. You will be paid for your waiting week if and when you have certified and been eligible for benefits in your waiting week and in each of the three consecutive weeks immediately following your waiting week
  5. Each week, you must report the gross amount of any money you have earned during that week, even if you are not paid until later

Monetary Eligibility

  1. You must have worked in employment that is covered by Unemployment Insurance and have qualifying wages in the base period.
  2. You must have earned enough wages at your work to qualify for benefits
  3. The claimant’s earnings outside the highest quarter in the claimant’s base period must be equal or greater than the lesser of six (6) times the claimant’s WBA or $900. A claimant’s maximum benefit amount is the lesser of 1/4 the claimant’s base period wages or 26 times the claimant’s WBA

Eligibility Questions

Can I get unemployment if I am fired?

Unemployment benefits can only be given to people who have lost their job involuntarily through no fault of their own. This means that the individual was fired due to structural changes in the company rather than because the individual did not perform his duties effectively. Generally, if the employee’s former position was eliminated and a replacement was not hired, then the employee was fired through no fault of his own and he is eligible for benefits.

Generally, you should apply for benefits as soon as he has been fired, as there is nothing to gain from waiting.



Can I draw unemployment if I am laid off?

Usually, in Tennessee you have to become unemployed through no fault of your own in order to collect unemployment. When you get laid-off, it is not your fault.

In almost all cases, this means that if you get laid-off, you are entitled to receive unemployment benefits.

If you get laid-off from your job, you should apply for unemployment benefits without delay.

Getting laid-off doesn’t mean that you did something wrong. It simply means that your company did not have enough work for you to do and could no longer afford to pay for the job.

Can I obtain unemployment if I quit?

Technically, if you quit your job, the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s regulations prevent you from obtaining unemployment. However, if you can prove that the reason you quit can be attributed to your employer, it’s possible to win an unemployment appeal. This could include situations where your employer made it difficult for you to continue working or violated labor laws.

You can be eligible for unemployment benefits if you can provide concrete evidence that supports your claim. This may include written communication from your employer or supervisor. You might also consider using photographic evidence or notarized witness statements. The more evidence you can provide, the more likely you will win your benefits.

Who is eligible for federal extension benefits?

Federal extension benefits are designed to provide further income support to eligible unemployed workers who have been out of work for a long period of time. The current legislation made December 23, 2012, the deadline for filing a first federal extension of benefits, once a regular UI claim runs out. The deadline for filing a second or third federal extension of benefits was also December 23, 2012, once the prior level of extension runs out.

More Questions?? —-> Read Eligibility Q & A Section
Want to know about how much you will receive?? —–>Calculate your benefits here



  1. I had to leave my job because of taking care of a sick family member. Can I receive unemployment

    1. Dear WMD,

      Yes, you will likely be eligible for benefits in Tennessee. If you quit a job for important family or health reasons, like caring for a sick family member, you are usually still eligible for benefits. If your child needs ongoing care, for example, and you are the only one who can provide it, quitting probably won’t make you ineligible for benefits. More commonly, people quit to care for a parent.

      File today. Best of luck.

      Jean

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