NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - The State of Tennessee is hoping to get more unemployment assistance for Tennesseans by applying for a federal grant to give people an extra $300 in unemployment assistance.

But there are people who are skeptical they’ll even get assistance. That’s because they are still waiting on their claims to be processed, even though they applied months ago. Chanse Jones is one of them.

“I’ve left voicemails with my name...pleading with them, how much I needed their help,” Jones said.

Jones says he loves working hard and has never been in a situation like this. When he lost in job in June due to COVID-19, so many things went through his mind.

Would he find another one? Would he be able to get unemployment benefits?

“For a 24-year-old it’s probably the biggest thing I’ve had to deal with, with life, so far,” Jones said.

Like many during the pandemic, he has been waiting weeks and weeks for a reply from the Department of Labor, but says right now his claim is still pending.

He says he knows many other young adults facing this same issue.

“Yeah, I have at least five other friends that have applied and haven’t heard anything back as well,” Jones said.

A new report today from the Department of Labor and Workforce Development shows that more than 13,800 new unemployment claims were filed last week.

As people struggle to find work, Department of Labor Commissioner Jeff McCord announced this week that the state is applying to receive a federal grant that will help Tennesseans receive $300 additional in unemployment benefits.

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Last week, the Presidential memorandum gave states the opportunity to add enhanced benefits,” Commissioner McCord said.

During Governor Lee’s press briefing Tuesday, reporters asked the Commissioner if we should expect another big slowdown when it comes to distributing those benefits.

"We are going to implement this as fast as we possibly can and again, we have anticipated this decision, even though it wasn't made until today. And we are working on that concurrently, so my answer to you is we're working diligently to not have that happen,” Commissioner McCord said.

But for Jones, he’s skeptical. He just wants answers.

News 4 Nashville did reach out to the Department of Labor about the status of Jones claim as well as the application process. A spokesperson issued the following statement:

The state of Tennessee has submitted its application to FEMA to receive federal funding for the Lost Wages Assistance program.

FEMA has not given an estimated time for the grant approval process.

During the application process, the Department and the system’s vendor have been working to build the new program that will pay Lost Wages Assistance benefits. This proactive measure should minimize the implementation time if/when the grant application is approved and the state secures the federal funding needed to pay LWA benefits.

Chanse Jones:

The claimant was discharged for violating a company policy. His former employer’s third party administrator has 48 hours to provide a copy of the policy violated, signed acknowledgement that he was aware of the policy violated and any prior warnings. If they provide the documents, his claim may be denied. If they do not provide sufficient evidence of misconduct, his claim may be approved.

News 4 will continue checking in on Chanse Jones to see if he receives any word from the department about his claim status.

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A New York City native and a graduate of the Mizzou School of Journalism, Ethan joined the WSMV Digital Team in June 2019. Send him story ideas, food recommendations and sports topics to Ethan.Illers@wsmv.com and follow him on Twitter @EthanIllers_TV!

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