NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Tami Fick's decision to come home to Tennessee in 2019 resulted in an unemployment nightmare for her a year later.

“It was shocking and stressful, and I have a lot more grey hairs because of it,” Fick said.

While moving to Antioch in 2019, Fick continue to work for a New Jersey-based company.

In March 2020, she accepted a new job in Tennessee. But on April 23, as the pandemic swept across the nation, Fick learned she’d been unemployed.

She filed for unemployment, expecting since she’d lived in Tennessee and her last job was in Tennessee, she would get unemployment in Tennessee.

Instead, she was denied.

“I kept having this feeling that I was going to get dropped into the cracks,” Fick said.

Fick soon learned that because of calculations to determine unemployment, she essentially had not earned enough money in Tennessee to qualify.

Even though she had lived in Tennessee since 2019, the majority of her income came from an out-of-state company.

News4 Investigates found 23,486 people claimants for unemployment indicated they worked out of state.

It is unclear how many of them have been denied because of it.

“There are complications and multipliers – it is not an easy system to navigate that is for sure,” said Chris Cannon, assistant administrator for the communications division at the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Cannon said a person’s unemployment is based on how much they earned during certain base periods.

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A formula then calculates how much they’ve earned to see if they qualify.

Fick said after weeks of confusion, the answer for her came from an unexpected place: New Jersey.

Even though she lives in Tennessee and last worked for a Tennessee company, she was at last approved for unemployment from New Jersey.

“My faith definitely got a good workout,” Fick said.


Chief Investigative Reporter

Jeremy Finley is the chief investigator for News4 Investigates. His reporting has resulted in criminal convictions, legislative hearings before the U.S. Congress, and the payout of more than a million dollars to scam victims.

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