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Tennessee Unemployment Eligibility

There are certain requirements that you must meet before you can receive 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

Questions & Answers

  1. D. Ann says:

    I had a colonectomy 2/8/17. On 2/10/17 I suffered a stroke. I was covered by FMLA. The day after FMLA ran out I was DISCHARGED. When I filed for unemployment I was denied. They state that I left my employment for health reasons. I did not quit my job. I am currently looking for employment. Shouldn’t I be eligible for unemployment.

  2. Amelia says:

    I was out from work for approx 2 weeks due to health related issues. Although it wasn’t paid leave as I didn’t have PTO to cover the days, I did notify my employer. I was told verbally that if we are out 3 days or more it’s considered 1 occurrence and we did not have to call every single day, only when we have some sort of an update. Now I’m receiving an email of my supervisor giving notice to Human Resources of my voluntary separation from the company. Well I never verbally quit nor did I submit a letter of resignation. Therefore, this was not voluntary at all. Would I qualify for unemployment and what would I need to do in regards to the employer having my departure listed as a voluntary separation?

    • Sam says:


      You should qualify, provided you have the necessary paperwork to prove your stance. Please talk to the Unemployment Office for clarification.

  3. phil says:

    does receiving pension payments effect benefits?

  4. Paula Mays says:

    I was forced to resigned due to being bullied and harassed by the assistant manager. I left a job of working 9 years, before coming to Orion Credit Union. I was forced to resign or get fired. And been put in a spot of not having any income due too lack of training, and mistreated. Would I beable to get unemployment, based on the situation?

    • Martin says:

      Of course, you can be eligible to claim UC benefits if you leave due to hostile work environment.

      Please make sure to keep supporting documents handy in case of a dispute raised by your employer.

  5. Janice Paine says:

    I applies 9 weeks ago and accepted. When will I start receiving retirement benefits?

    • Martin says:

      Please note this is a website that deals with Unemployment Insurance benefits.

      You may call the authorities for further details on retirement benefits.

  6. Ashlee says:

    Why haven’t I received any payments yet, when will I know I’m approved

  7. Ashlee says:

    What is the number to the claim center for Tennessee

  8. Ashlee says:

    I applied for unemployment 4-5 weeks ago I worked at my company for 2 years and had to find better work due to the company not providing mats to stand on I required stress fracked so I found a job that had accurate equipment and was fired within a month, am I eligible for unemployment my family needs this, please

    • Martin says:

      You can be eligible to claim due to hazardous work conditions.

      If you’ve already applied, please call the Claims Center for an update.

  9. Angela says:

    Is there a reason why im not able to get into the system to file a claim?

  10. Gale says:

    I was hired as a part time employee. Some weeks I work 20 hours and some weeks can be 34 or more. Am I eligible for unemployment benefits if I’m fired?

    • Martin says:

      You can be eligible as long as your employer is paying the relevant taxes into the system.

      Please check with your employer.

  11. jennifer says:

    I have been at my job for 15 years. today I got fired. can I claim unemployment

  12. Jessica says:

    I quit my job of 7 years because my hours were being drop. I went to Randstad for better paying job, in the process I was let go from my assignment at no fault of my own. I was only there for 4 months. I am fixing to have to surgery and recovery is 6 to 12 weeks. So my question would be would I be able to collect unemployment?

  13. Lily Fletcher says:

    I gave 30 day notice of resignation and was let go after a week. My employer says I am not due unemployment because I resigned. Is this true? I was expecting to work until my end date. Can I collect unemployment?

    • Martin says:

      If you resigned voluntarily, you will not qualify for UI benefits.

      Benefits are only provided to those who lose their job due to involuntary reasons.

  14. Eddie says:

    I am a construction worker and I also pastor a small church, my construction job will soon come to an end, will any money I receive at the church effect my unemployment?

    • Martin says:

      It will have a bearing. You are required to declare the income from the church when you apply.

      Please call the Unemployment Office in your state for further details.

  15. Char says:

    I have never filled out unemployment before and I made an error on my weekly certification. I did contact 3 places (actually 4)for employment, but when I answered I said no because I misunderstood the question. Can I fix that so that I can be certified for the week

  16. Heather says:

    I had to quit my job suddenly do to domestic violence. I went home to CA since I couldn’t afford a place to live in TN. Can I claim unemployment

    • Martin says:

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

  17. Scott says:

    Base period is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters. If you are filing today, base period is Jul 2014 – Sep 2014 to Apr 2015 – Jun 2015

    Does the base period have to be with the same Tennessee employer that worngfully terminated me?

  18. Lynne says:

    I reported my boss for neglect and exploitation of the individuals I cared for, about 3 weeks ago. Today I got fired for something I didn’t do. Would I be eligible for benefits?

  19. Christy cook says:

    The therapy clinic where I work is closing. Am I eligible for benefits since I am considered prn?

    • Jeff says:

      Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state.

      Not sure if you will be eligible since the employment is not on permanent rolls.

  20. Brian Callahan says:

    I was not qualified for benefits because my doctor stated he didn’t know when I could return to original job as sales in call center. The call center already approved me for benefits.

    • Adrian says:

      If there is a dispute, please call the claims center immediately for further advise. Make your stance clear.

  21. Angela Dickinons says:

    Can I collect unemployment if my husband is getting relocated to another state?

    • Adrian says:

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

  22. sarah says:

    Was on FMLA it ran out. Can I apply for unemployment.

    • Adrian says:

      Depends on the reason for FMLA. If you’re now able,available to work and looking for jobs, please inquire with the labor authorities in your state and apply accordingly.

  23. Mary says:

    I am working in a private home work is physically breaking my body down… they are not willing to shorten hours to help me I am 57 cannot do the work at this level anymore..I would like to work but less hours..could I receive benefits if I quit till I find something else?

    • Adrian says:

      Voluntary resignation is not considered. Please try and work out a plan with your employer.

      You can also call the labor authorities in your state and check if you qualify under such as situations.

  24. Jessica says:

    I work weekends at a restaurant. Lately they haven’t even always been scheduling me to work. If they don’t schedule me at all during a work week can I file for unemployment even though I’m only a part time employee?

    • Adrian says:

      Is the employment contractual? If it is on a contractual basis, you will not qualify.

      Please validate credentials and apply accordingly.

  25. Ronald says:

    How many days may I work in a week and still be able to claim it as an unemployed week?

  26. Donald Brown says:

    I am full time faculty at a community college. I am on a nine month contract with pay over 12 months. I was told that due to declining enrollment, my contract may not be renewed. If that happens, can I collect unemployment benefits?

  27. Bob says:

    I recently started working full time again after 7 years of retirement I have been working just over 4 months and am will have 2 weeks of being laid off during christmas…can I apply for benefits in TN?

  28. Travis P says:

    I work in a factory that is making me take drug classes off the clock, but I have never had a drug test nor failed one. Is this right?

  29. Melissa says:

    I got hours cut from 40 to 32 can I claim umrmployment

  30. Jeff Wallis says:

    I am employed by Wireless Connection Inc who is an authorized dealer for Cricket Communications. The company employees 8 people and has been given a letter of termination by Cricket. I own 100% of the company and it must be closed due to Cricket’s decision to terminate us.

    I have 2 questions.
    1. How can I best help my employees get unemployment?
    2. Could I be eligible for unemployment given that I am paid a salary from the company that I 100% own?

  31. rosche'll lockett says:

    I called to get my pin UN locked but was unsuccessful what do I do

    • kathy says:

      This is not the unemployment office. Please contact them – you may find alternate contact information for them on the Tennessee unemployment website.

  32. Margo Warchus says:

    Does severance pay affect benefits. I don’t think it did in the past. If it does now, when did it change?

    • kathy says:

      It some states it does – actually I think that is becoming the norm. I do not know when it changed in Tennessee, perhaps they have that information on their website.

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