More funding to aid unemployment relief/unemployment for self-employed

COVID-19 has caused record spikes in unemployment with the number of initial claims spiking to more than 250,000 in the last three-week period, according to Gov. Bill Lee.

In March, at the onset of the pandemic, Gov. Lee directed the Department of Labor and Workforce Development to conduct the following actions to support Tennesseans facing unemployment due to COVID-19, among others:

  • Extend unemployment benefits to those who are quarantined by a physician for COVID-19
  • Suspend certain regulations to speed up payment time

As the rate of unemployment claims escalates, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development is projected to pay more than 100,000 claims this week. The department is employing additional resources to make this system run more smoothly.

With the passage of the CARES Act, Congress has made more funding available and greater flexibility for Tennesseans during the pandemic. Certain CARES Act provisions are on track to be implemented as early as next week.

Tennessee is also working closely with the federal government to ensure Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation for the self-employed or those who file 1099 forms is available as quickly as possible.

Tennesseans out of work can apply for unemployment benefits at

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