NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - For Tennesseans getting unemployment benefits from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, major changes are headed your way.
“There’s three things that are ending,” said Department of Labor and Workforce Development spokesman Chris Cannon. “The extended benefit program ends on November 7. Everyone who is on that program will be off that program after November 7, and they could reapply to see if they eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Benefits.”
The state currently has four separate programs – Tennessee Unemployment Compensation, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Extended Benefits.
“The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits and the PEUC are both part of the CARES Act. The CARES Act runs through December 26,” said Cannon. “If you’re just getting on the PUA Program now, you can be on that program if you’re eligible through December 26, and then that program ends. Same for PEUC.”
On Wednesday, the Department of Labor sent out more than 170,000 emails reminding people and getting the word out.
New numbers released on Thursday show there have been over 6,600 new unemployment claims filed last week, bringing the total number to over 900,000 since March 15. That’s the fewest new unemployment claims filed during the pandemic.
“We’re still receiving thousands of claims each week,” said Cannon.
The Department of Labor and Workforce Development said it is closely monitoring claims for security reasons.
“The longer the pandemic goes on and that pandemic unemployment assistance can be backdated to March, we’re seeing other states deal with this, where people are trying to get in and process fake claims to try and receive large amounts of unemployment insurance benefits,” said Cannon. “We’re taking a look at any claim that comes in now and they are backdating it to March going over it with a fine-tooth comb to make sure the person who’s applying for those benefits is eligible for those benefits.”
Cannon added that many states have seen large scale fraudulent activity within their systems. Tennessee has not.
“We have very good security measures on our claims to make sure that doesn’t happen, but it’s not like it can’t happen.”