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How to file for unemployment in TN during COVID-19 pandemic

Filing for unemployment is a safety net for hard times like this. Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed an executive order that should help make it easier.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Right now, many people are out of work through no fault of their own. Filing for unemployment is a safety net for hard times like this.

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed an executive order that should help make it easier for you to file.

According to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, there are three changes you should know under Executive Order 15.

First, the order temporarily suspends the waiting week requirement. Now you can receive your first benefit upfront instead of waiting to certify for four consecutive weeks.

Second, the executive order helps include more people. By law, to be eligible a person must be able and available to work. Claimants could be laid-off, quit for good reason, or fired for reasons other than misconduct. Now it includes people who are isolated and quarantined by a medical professional.

Third, the job search requirement is temporarily modified. Normally, you must document your work search activity each week. Now that can include job searches made online or over the phone.

RELATED: List of cancellations, closings in Knoxville, East Tennessee due to coronavirus concerns

RELATED: "Safer at Home" order issued by Knox County Health Department

HOW TO FILE
If you have a computer and internet, you can file for unemployment at home. Log onto Jobs4TN.gov to start your application.

First, you need personal information like your:
Social Security Number
Driver's License
Valid email address
If you'd like to receive your benefits by direct deposit you'll also need you bank account routing and account number.

You'll also need to list some employer information like your last paystub, last day at work and your return date. If the business is temporarily closed due to COVID-19, and you are unsure of the return to work date, use the date 16 weeks from the day of filing.

The state determines your weekly benefit based on your earning over the past 18 months. However, the maximum weekly benefit in Tennessee is $275 before federal taxes are deducted.

In Tennessee, you can receive benefits for up to 26 weeks. File as soon as possible online. If you're denied, appeal.

According to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the COVID-19 emergency has created an enormous demand on the unemployment system. You may have to be patient when waiting to receive benefits.

If you have questions about filing for unemployment, click here.