3 things to know if you’re still waiting on Tennessee unemployment benefits

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Data shows Memphis is one of the hardest-hit areas for people trying to get back to work. Everyday FOX13 gets emails from people still waiting for their unemployment claims.

One person wrote, “I have been waiting since April 12th for unemployment and I still have not received an update. I’ve tried calling but they just ask for basic information and promise a call back that I never received.”

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Here are the top three things you need to know if you’re still waiting on unemployment benefits.

Number one: Continue to certify online if you are still unemployed. It’s important to note that if the claim is approved, the state of Tennessee will pay you for those weeks, even if you returned to work.

Number two: The call volume is slowly trending downward making it easier for more people to get through to agents. You can also leave a voicemail with detailed information about your claim. The state says agents are working daily to return your phone calls.

Number three: Virtual chat agent Peyton with the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development is available 24/7 to answer your questions. During business hours, the department moves you to a live chat agent who can answer more detailed requests.

Last week, Fox 13 reported millions of dollars are available during the pandemic to assist families with utility bills, rent, and mortgage payments.

RELATED: Making it in the Mid-South: Millions are available during the pandemic to assist families

Reach out to the Shelby County Community Services Agency or CSA at www.shelbycountycsa.org.

While many Americans are getting back to work, others are still waiting for their unemployment benefits. Dushun Taylor said he has been waiting on his unemployment for more than six weeks.

Taylor is no different than many people across the Mid-South that we hear from every single week. He said he filed for unemployment on the Jobs4TN.gov website.

He said he wants the state to stop procrastinating when it comes to getting him his benefits.

“That’s the frustrating part of it because I’ve been patient, but this is not acceptable,” Taylor said.

Taylor told FOX13 as he was preparing to head back to work in March after a bad car accident that forced him to go on paid leave from both of his jobs, the pandemic hit. Now he said he doesn’t have any income.

“I’ve contacted the 1-800 number, the office, and the only thing that they tell me is ‘well, just keep certifying,‘” said Taylor. “They can’t give me any general information as far as what’s going on with my claim.”

FOX13 contacted the Tennessee Department of Labor &Workforce Development. A spokesman said claims that need to be disputed or need an appeals hearing will take longer to solve. Taylor said it’s frustrating not knowing when he will get the answers he needs so he can pay his rent, car note, and light bill.

“This is everyone’s livelihood,” he said. “We didn’t ask to be unemployed. We didn’t ask for the situation, but we ask for you guys to expedite our claims to where we can still live and be able to provide.”

The state said it continues to get an influx of new claims weekly. Just last week, Tennessee reported 21,155 claims. That’s higher than the previous week. Taylor said he fears longer wait times for unemployment benefits.

“Taking a month and a half to process a claim is ridiculous,” he said.

Data shows Memphis is one of the hardest hit areas for people trying to get back to work.