The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development is making preparations to reinstate unemployment benefits for claimants in the Extended Benefit program. Tennessee triggered off of the federal extension of benefits in mid-April. On May 21, 2011, the General Assembly passed legislation to retroactively reinstate the Extended Benefit program back to April 16. The bill will become law upon signing by Governor Haslam.
The passage of the bill allows those who were in the last 20 of 99 weeks available to resume benefits while looking for work. This does not establish additional weeks for those who have utilized all of the available federal extensions.
Eligible claimants will be instructed to use an Internet application to update their work status since the week of April 16, certifying that they have not returned to work. It will take additional time to complete and test the computer programming necessary to release the application.
“It’s important for claimants to understand that we are working toward restarting benefits as soon as possible,” said Commissioner Karla Davis. “We know from experience this process will take a few weeks, so we ask claimants to be patient and expect guidance by mail or updates on our Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development homepage.”
There are several categories of unemployment insurance claimants who would be directly affected by this new legislation.
1. If you ceased receiving EB Benefits on April 16, 2011, had a balance in your account at that time, have not returned to work and remain eligible you will be allowed to receive the remainder of those benefits. If you have returned to work, you may be eligible for those weeks in which you were unemployed.
2. If you exhausted Emergency Unemployment Compensation Tier 4 benefits on or after April 16, 2011, and have not returned to work and remain eligible, you will be transitioned into EB once eligible claimants have updated their back-certification information. You will receive a written EB Monetary Entitlement notification. If you have returned to work, you may be eligible for those weeks in which you were unemployed.
3. If you exhaust EUC08 Tier 4 benefits after the effective date of the new law, you will automatically be transitioned into the EB program without delay. You will receive a written EB Monetary Entitlement notification.
Once eligible claimants have updated their back-certification information, a payment will be issued to retroactively cover the benefit weeks since April 16. Claimants will then resume their weekly benefit schedule of certification and receipt of benefits.
The Extended Benefits program is scheduled to conclude at the end of this year. The last payable week for all participants in the EB program is January 7, 2012.