NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) —The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a major impact on Tennessee’s unemployment claims.
According to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the state is projected to pay more than 100,000 claims this week. Initial claims spiked to more than 250,000 in the last three week period.
The state will extend unemployment benefits to people who are quarantined by a doctor for COVID-19. They’ll also suspend certain regulations to speed up payment time.
“Understand that time is of the essence, we feel a huge weight and a huge sense of urgency at the department to get these funds out to get these funds out to Tennesseans, in a nutshell Governor we are making progress, but we still have more progress,” said Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Jeff McCord.
The department is getting additional resources to make the system run more smoothly.
“As the rate of unemployment claims escalates, our Department of Labor is projected to pay more than 100,000 claims this week – pay that many claims out. The massive number of new claims has required additional resources, to make the system run efficiently,” said Governor Bill Lee. “You can imagine the impact on our system as this massive number of folks has filed for unemployment.”
Tennesseans who are out of work can apply for unemployment benefits at Jobs4TN.gov.
As for small businesses, the Paycheck Protection Program can offer relief. It’s is a loan designed to give a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.
The Small Business Administration will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.