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Important Information Regarding Federal Unemployment Benefits in Tennessee. Click Banner for Details.


Work searches become part of your weekly certification process Sunday, October 4, 2020.

The video tutorials below provide you step-by-step assistance with reporting your work searches or activities during the weekly certification process.

This is an interactive PDF with topics listed at the top. You can click on the topic you have a question about and it will take you to the answer.

I am self-employed. When the state calculates my PUA weekly benefit amount, will I receive back pay if my actual benefit should be higher than the initial $120 per week I received?

Yes, when the state determines your actual weekly benefit amount, if it is higher than the minimum $120 payment, you will retroactively receive the difference between the minimum and your actual benefit amount.

I am self-employed or an independent contractor. Am I eligible for Unemployment Insurance?

Typically, most self-employed individuals and independent contractors working in Tennessee are not authorized to obtain regular Tennessee Unemployment Compensation (TUC). However, self-employed individuals and independent contractors may be eligible for benefits under Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). PUA is available for individuals who would normally not be eligible for regular unemployment benefits, but are unable to work because of COVID-19. PUA is through the week ending July 3, 2021. The maximum benefit amount is $275, the same as the maximum benefit amount for regular Tennessee unemployment insurance benefits. The minimum PUA benefit amount is calculated by USDOL, quarterly, as 50% of the average weekly benefit amount in each state. An additional $300 will be paid on top of your weekly benefit amount under the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program.

I've been laid off from my job, but I still have a second/self-employed job; am I eligible for unemployment?

The same answer as above. Filing the claim and getting that monetary determination is the key. A person has done nothing wrong by just filing so they get that information to see. If they don’t ever certify, the claim is never really truly activated.

If I am self-employed, how do I submit my missing wage information?

If you are self-employed, you do not need to file a wage protest. Instead, submit proof of your earnings (IRS form 1040 schedule C, E, or F; business records such as bank statements or financial statements; check stubs) to, fax to 615-253-0808, or mail to Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development, 220 French Landing Drive, Nashville, TN 37243.

If you are self-employed please answer the questions like this.


Please type in a job title that closest fits your current duties. Let’s say you own a restaurant. To make it easier, please use one of the populated job titles in the drop-down box.


Then make a similar selection in the Job Occupation drop-down menu.


Select yes in this box.


If you have only been a self-employed worker for the last 18 months, please type in self-employed in the employer search. If you have received a w-2 for an employer you worked within the previous 18 months, please add that employer.

After typing self-employed, you will click search.


Then click I don’t see it on this list


Click OK on the box that pops up


Then click I don’t see it in this list again


When you are completing your work history, you need to remember that unemployment is built for covered employed, and claimants usually are W-2 workers whose employers pay into the UI fund for those claimants. When you complete the work history, you are going to receive a wage and separation request asking you for the reason that the claimant is separated. You do not need to send this information back.

Put Self-Employed in the employer's name and complete the form with your business's information.


Click on the blue link in this section and locate an industry code that closest fits the type of work you do. As in our example, I am a restaurant owner.


Type in Self-employed in this section


Once you have completed the work history select no on the next screen and click next


Since your wages are not covered for normal UI, you will not see any base period wages. You will also receive a monetary determination stating you are not eligible. This is not a denial of benefits; it is just telling you that you do not have wages for normal UI. Once the PUA program is running, we will check for eligibility for that program.


You will receive a monetary determination similar to this as soon as your claim is completed. This does not mean you are denied on PUA. That program is not available at this time but is being programmed for implementation.


This Page Last Updated: June 1, 2021 at 3:13 PM