Wait for many Tennesseans could end next week for temporary federal unemployment checks

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Some Tennesseans are receiving additional federal unemployment help while others are still waiting.

It’s a frustrating issue for those out of work, but their wait may not be long.

At the governor’s weekly briefing this week, Tennessee Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Jeff McCord offered a timeline for jobless Tennesseans waiting for checks.

“We are hopeful that we’ll get the funding after the holiday weekend and distributed after that following week,” said McCord.

It’s some hope as well for the nearly 200,000 Tennesseans who have lost jobs when some businesses were ordered closed by Governor Bill Lee last March because of COVID-19.

The federal unemployment of $300 weekly comes from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the form of a grant the state must apply for weekly.

“It’s new to them, its new to us,” said Commissioner McCord at Thursday’s briefing.

Tennessee was among the first states to be approved for the FEMA grant, but it comes from an agency not accustomed to distributing unemployment money.

During the governor’s weekly briefings, McCord has warned several times that whatever unemployment money there is from FEMA, it has a limit.

“It looks like the most we’ll have, unless something happens at the congressional level, is another three weeks of the FEMA funds,” added the commissioner.

And that means nearly 200,000 Tennesseans would go back to receiving $275 weekly in state unemployment benefits.

Earlier this summer, Congress could not agree on extending the $600 weekly federal unemployment benefit that was part of the initial COVID-19 relief program from the bipartisan CARES Act.

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