Gov. Lee has worked proactively to lessen the burden on individuals facing unemployment due to COVID-19. He has relaxed regulations to help Tennesseans get paid quicker through unemployment and has set up new mechanisms to help Tennesseans find new or temporary employment.

Gov. Lee is also working to make sure that those who are self-employed gain access to unemployment benefits during this difficult time. Tennesseans can apply for unemployment here.  

The Department of Labor is working quickly to meet the unprecedented increase in demand for benefits in the last several weeks.  Progress is being made each day to stand up more resources to help answer questions, resolve problems with claims, and pay eligible applicants as soon as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

In Executive Order No. 15, Governor Lee temporarily suspended Tennessee’s one-week waiting period to receive benefits. During this temporary suspension, the state will pay the first week of benefits as soon as an unemployment claim is approved. 

The COVID-19 emergency has created a tremendous amount of unemployment claims. The Department of Labor and Workforce Development is processing them as quickly as possible. You can check the status of your claim on your dashboard. 

The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) is providing Emergency Cash Assistance to families that were employed as of March 11, 2020 and have lost a job or lost at least 50% of their earned income due to the COVID-19 emergency. Details on eligibility and how to apply can be found here.

TDHS is also providing child care and financial assistance to families and child care providers impacted by COVID-19. Details on the variety of assistance can be found here.

Tennessee’s unemployment system is completely online. Individuals can apply, check the status of their claim, and complete weekly certifications at

If you are quarantined or ordered to isolate by a medical professional or health authority, you are eligible to receive unemployment benefits if all other eligibility requirements are met, and you intend to return to your job.

Yes, there will be extended benefits soon. The CARES Act does provide for Pandemic Extended Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). It is a federal program that pays after ALL other unemployment programs have been exhausted. The federal government has yet to provide states with guidelines for this program.

The Tennessee Public Utility Commission ordered private, investor-owned natural gas, electric, water, and wastewater utility companies to suspend the disconnection of utility services due to nonpayment during Tennessee’s state of emergency status. For public and co-op utility providers, please contact them to see what emergency programs they have in place.

 The filing deadline for franchise and excise taxes, Hall taxes, state, and city business taxes and professional privilege taxes have been extended. Additional information can be found here.

Questions about COVID-19? Visit our FAQ page or send a message to Governor Lee's Constituent Services team. 

NOTE: Please refrain from sending personal health records or other protected medical information to the Governor’s Office. Concerns or questions regarding the federal government or federal matters are best referred to the appropriate federal officeholder. Additionally, please note that the Governor's Office cannot assist constituents with legal matters or intervene on their behalf in judicial or law enforcement matters.