Unemployment Tips for Tennessee

The company where I have worked for many years is closing the store where I work part time, so I have had to take a crash course on unemployment. As part of my preparation, I recently attended a conference on filing for unemployment benefits in Tennessee. I have been making notes and taking names, and have some tips to share on facing unemployment in Tennessee.

Filing for Unemployment in Tennessee

You will need to wait a week after you are officially unemployed to file for unemployment. There are three ways to file for unemployment in Tennessee right now:

1. Internet filing – This is the fastest way to file for unemployment in Tennessee and the way the experts recommend you file. Go to http://state.tn.us/labor-wfd/ or http://www.tennessee.gov/labor-wfd

2. Telephone – Because of the high call volume at the unemployment call centers, it is NOT recommended you use this method. However, the two phone numbers for filing for unemployment in Tennessee are 615-253-0800 or 1/877-813-0950.

3. Paper claim – This method is extremely slow as your paperwork makes its way to the office via snail mail. In fact, looking through the paperwork I received from the seminar I attended, they didn’t bother to provide the mailing address.

4. Mass Claim Filing – Because of the high volume of people applying for unemployment right now, you may have seen on television where they are doing temporary mass claim-taking sessions. You would have to check with your local unemployment office to find out if the office near you is doing this. At the office at Metro Center in Nashville, Tennessee, they are apparently doing two sessions on Mondays and Thursdays at 8:30 AM and 1:00 PM, and one session on Fridays at 8:30 AM.

For the mass claim filing, you will need:

  • Your separation notice
  • A picture ID (your TN driver’s license will work
  • Your social security card or birth certificate

Additional Notes about Unemployment in Tennessee

It takes about 2 1/2 weeks to get your first check after you file. Your forth unemployment check will be double the normal amount to make up for the first week of unemployment before you filed.

You must check in weekly by phone or online for certification to receive the next unemployment check. Again, because call centers stay so busy, the Internet is recommended for your weekly certification.

In addition to your unemployment check, you are also allowed to earn a very small income, up to either $50 or 25% of your benefits. Check with your local unemployment office for more details.

Any severance, 401K, and vacation pay you earned at your job does not effect your unemployment.

Your unemployment income is taxable at 10%. You may choose to have this amount deducted from each unemployment check or pay it at the end of the year in a lump sum.

Tennessee Unemployment Resources

Tennessee Job Services
– You MUST register for Job Services in person at your local career center and fill out an application (one page, front and back) with the FIRST WEEK of filing for unemployment. If you go in for one of the mass claim filing sessions, you can more than likely register for Job Services at 8:00AM, before the 8:30 claim session begins.

Tennessee Career Centers – Your local career center may have a career coach who can provide you with information about free job training which may be available to you. They offer courses and training at the local career centers which are located across the state.

Nashville Career Advancement Center – The Nashville Career Advancement Center is located at 621 Mainstream Drive in Suite 210 in Nashville and provides career services including workshops and training. Their phone number is 615-862-8890. Toll free (TTY): 1-800-848-0298

Tennessee Internet Resources –

  • https://ecmats.state.tn.us – At this website you can search statewide for job postings. Click on “Job Seeker” at the bottom to register.
  • http://www.sourcetn.org/ – Department of Labor and Workforce Development website with information on training and services.

Facing unemployment is NOT a happy prospect, but with the right tools, it need not be as overwhelming as it might otherwise be.