Coronavirus in Tennessee: Morristown couple hits roadblock registering for state unemployment checks


MORRISTOWN, Tenn. (WATE) — A Morristown couple hit a roadblock as they registered for state unemployment checks; both are eligible because of COVID-19 work-related layoffs.

They showed Don Dare what it’s like when you log on to the state’s website.

The process has been overwhelming for Keith and Kelly Short.

If all had gone as expected, the couple should have received $550 each in unemployment benefits by now. Yet, so far they’ve received no money.

For the third day in a row, the Short’s have logged onto Jobs4TN, the state’s site where they check on the weekly status of their unemployment benefits.

The couple was laid off as a result of COVID-19. On March 28, the manufacturing plant where they work as machinists informed the state of their status.

“Our company notified the unemployment office that they were going to be doing a mass layoff. They turned in the paperwork for us so that it would be easier for us to begin it immediately.”

Kelly Short

But nothing has been easy.

“The benefit amount would be $275, but then it says the payment amount is going to be nothing. Zero, no unemployment started. We should have gotten our first check by 8th of April at the latest.”

Kelly Short

“It’s been a train wreck. The website has been a train wreck. We had to log in on at 3 or 4 a.m. to avoid peak times, to make sure our accounts were made. People shouldn’t have to do that.”

Keith Short

Kelly showed us that they’re registered.

Keith handed us the letter sent to his state representative, in response, Tuesday he received a call from the unemployment office.

“She said you didn’t get your claim done on time. So it’s going to be later. How could I have gotten my claim done on time when their system was overloaded?”

Keith Short

Calling the state hasn’t helped either.

“One, two, three done, is how simple it should be. I think I’ve spent as many hours working on this as I do at the plant.”

Kelly Short

Well there is good news for Keith and Kelly — on Tuesday afternoon, the state Department of Labor sent an email saying the couple’s unemployment compensation claim has been approved.

We wrote to the state earlier Tuesday to explain the couple’s situation.

The state says their certification payments went out this morning and they should be directly deposited Wednesday.

Keith and Kelly are pleased.

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