Unemployment insurance FAQs for the newsletter back to home

Many of us continue to receive questions from clients regarding problems they are having filing for unemployment benefits. We’re listing some of the most frequently asked questions here and what you can tell claimants that will help them and ease their frustration in trying to negotiate a system overburdened by the high volume of claims.

I got a check double the amount of benefits from normal. Is there a problem?
Answer: One scenario is a double payment occurs after you receive your first four consecutive checks. The one-time double payment covers your waiting week and your fourth week of Unemployment Insurance and does not need to be returned.

What if I report I went back to work later than I did? How should I go about repaying the benefits?
Answer: You would notify the department during your certification process. When telling us of your earnings, it is important to tell us how much you’ve earned when you worked rather than when you received your check. Not declaring work while receiving benefits is considered fraud, and benefits received should be returned. The claimant must contact Benefit Payment Control at the following:
Benefit Payment Control
220 French Landing Drive
Nashville, TN 37245-2400
(615) 741-2606 or toll-free (in Tennessee) 1-800-344-8337
E-mail: Esadmin.fraud@tn.gov

What should we tell people who are not transitioning from one tier to the next and think they should be?
Answer: Each claimant transitioning to a new extension will be notified by mail. The deadline for transitioning into new tiers is February 28, 2010. After that date, the claimant can use up the weeks of the tier he is on, but cannot transition to another tier. Claimants with questions should contact the telephone claims center at 1-877-813-0950 or 615-253-0800. Claimants may also call Benefits Support at 615-741-4030.

I had to sign up again for unemployment after a year, and now my amount is lower. What happened?
Answer: The balance in your account can be affected by changes in benefit year. Because your earnings are lower in different quarters, the lower earnings can affect your benefit amount in a new benefit year.

I was notified by a letter of determination when I filed my claim; will I receive a letter when my benefits end?
Answer: No, but you will receive notice on your check stub that benefits are exhausted.

The system won’t let me certify. What do I do?
Answer: If you are having computer problems or are unable to reach us, try again as soon as you can. There are numerous reasons that would prevent you from certifying to include an incorrect answer given during previous certification, locked PIN, behind on certifications, reported excess wages on previous certification or your BYE has ended. Please contact the Claims Center at 1-877-813-0950 or (615) 253-0800. You may also contact any Career Center or call Benefits Support at (615) 741-4030.

I filed my unemployment claim successfully and received a monetary determination, but then was not able to certify. What do I do?
Answer: Do not attempt to certify until the Sunday or Monday following the week in which you file your unemployment claim. If you continue to have problems then contact the Claims Center at 1-877-813-0950 or (615) 253-0800; you can also call Benefit Support at (615) 741-4030.

I have been on unemployment and am not at the end of my benefits. Also, my benefit year has not ended, and I cannot certify. What do I do?
Answer: Contact the Claims Center at 1-877-813-0950 or (615) 253-0800; you can also call Benefit Support at (615) 741-4030.

What are the Career Centers able to do to assist claimants?
Answer: Staff at the Career Centers have the capability to unlock PINs for claimants who make mistakes or forget the PINs, correct wrong answers given earlier, catch up claimants on back certifications, and change addresses.

If a claimant has the above issues (PIN resetting, address change, etc.) does he have to go to the Career Center in person or can anything be done on the phone?
Answer: The Career Center staff can make these changes by phone.

I worked in another state, but live in Tennessee. I tried to file online and it won’t work.
Answer: You must contact the Claims Center at 1-877-813-0950 or (615) 253-0800.

I’ve been calling the Claims Center number for weeks and cannot get through. Do you have another number?
Answer: No. Try filing on the Internet. Benefit Support at (615) 741-4030 does not take claims.

I’m a veteran (or federal employee) and cannot file online.
Answer: You must contact the Claims Center at 1-877-813-0950 or (615) 253-0800.

How much can you earn before it affects your unemployment benefits?
Answer: Each claimant is given an earnings allowance based on their WBA. The maximum earnings allowance is $68.75. Any amount earned in excess of the earnings allowance is deducted from the weekly benefit amount dollar for dollar. You are required to report any and all earnings when earned and not when paid. Should you exceed your weekly benefit amount your claim will be suspended and you will need to contact the telephone claims center at 1-877-813-0950. You will be required to re-open your claim.

I’ve worked and earned more than the maximum weekly benefit amount, which disqualified me for unemployment for that week, and my benefits were stopped. What do I need to do to reopen my claim if I become unemployed again? Can this be done online? For example, I did temp work for one week; the following week I tried to certify again and could not. I have tried to reopen my claim on the phone for several weeks. What can I do?
Answer: Call the telephone claims center at 1-877-813-0950 or file online.

If I file my claim several weeks after I was laid off, will I get back weeks of unemployment?
Answer: No. Your claim is effective the day you file. An eligible Tennessee Unemployment Claim could have an entitlement of 13 to 26 weeks. You will receive benefits for an approved claim from the day it was filed until initial entitlement is exhausted. The maximum weekly benefit amount in Tennessee is 275.00 per week.

I called to check the status of my initial claim, and they said it was “pending.” What does that mean?
Answer: Pending means your claim is being processed and awaiting an agency decision. Some claims, such as quits or discharges, require us to obtain additional information.

Is the expiration date for filing for all tiers 2/28/10?
Answer: Yes, that is the deadline for filing. You may finish out the EUC tier you are on beyond that date. February 28, 2010, is the transition deadline; if your file your initial claim after that date, you are eligible for only up to 26 weeks of regular unemployment.

When does the extra $25 stimulus in my unemployment stop?
Answer:  Claimants enrolled before 2/28/10 will continue to receive an additional $25 until 9/11/10. New unemployment claims filed on or after 2/28/10 will not receive the additional $25 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

My payments have stopped. How do I find if I’m eligible for an extension?
Answer:  If you are transitioning to another tier or extension of benefits you will be notified by mail. You may also call Benefit Support at (615) 741-4030.

Will I get a letter saying there are no benefits left or is that information just on the check stub?
Answer: That information is only on the check stub.

Does my check stub indicate how many weeks I have left?
Answer: No. It shows the remaining balance of the program you are on.

If I’m not transitioning to an extension of benefits, will I get a letter saying I’ll receive no more benefits?
Answer: No