‘Right now it’s just me trusting God’; battling unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic

WATCH: Battling unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — FOX13 spoke with a Raleigh woman who just received her unemployment check.

In all about 16 million Americans filed for unemployment over the past three weeks. Most hope they will soon at least be like Marissa McCraklin who said when she checked her bank account Thursday morning, she noticed her unemployment money was added.

McCraklin is like the nearly 250,000 Tennesseans who filed for unemployment in the last three weeks. She was laid off last month due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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“That’s kind of high. It’s really high. I can’t really think about how many people used to work and got to adjust. It’s kind of scary,” she said.

McCraklin worked part-time as a graphic designer for a Memphis company. Recently they sent her a text message saying she and her coworkers needed to file for unemployment.

McCraklin said she’s getting $148 a week.

When asked if she thinks she will get to a point where she will have to choose between being able to eat or pay the mortgage, McCraklin said, “In the past, I have faced that before. My husband wasn’t working. So yes.”

Although her husband is back at work now, McCracklin said this is her first time dealing with a layoff.

She said landing any job is tough right now because she has a heart condition, which puts her at a higher risk of contracting the coronavirus.

“Right now it’s just me trusting God, trusting God through the next month until the end of May all the way until the end of this year because you don’t know how long it’s going to go,” she said.

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development said the state has not started processing pandemic unemployment assistance for self-employed, freelance and 1099 workers.

“How they going to replenish the economy? How they going to bring more money to flow in?” McCracklin asked. “You don’t know what to expect.”

WATCH: The state is working to reprogram Jobs4TN.gov to make changes due to the Cares Act

Right now the state is working to reprogram Jobs4TN.gov to make changes due to the Cares Act. That’s the federal unemployment compensation program providing an extra 600-dollars per week. Tennessee plans to start paying the federal benefit in a matter of days.

A spokesman said in part, “This week the state will pay around 100,000 Tennesseans nearly $30 million in benefits."

Comprehensive Staffing Solutions told FOX13 the staffing agency is looking to fill at least 30 positions, mostly in Mississippi. However, everything is on hold until the COVID-19 pandemic dies down.

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