Tennesseans may have to wait for federal unemployment benefits


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Many Tennesseans are anxiously awaiting unemployment checks, but you may have to wait a bit longer.  

Many are waiting on their $600-per-week unemployment check from the federal government. These checks are on top of the $275-per-week unemployment benefits offered by the state. 

A spokesman with the Tennessee Labor and Workforce Development Department said they’re having to reprogram their computer systems. This is to accommodate changes from the federal coronavirus relief package.  

“Programmers are working as quickly as possible to make those changes so the state can start providing that particular federal benefit to Tennesseans,” spokesman Chris Cannon said, although he did not have a date when the work would be complete.

The $600 benefit will be in addition to the state’s usual $275 per week unemployment benefit. The new benefit will be distributed retroactively, with the first payable week the one that ended April 4.

To keep up with demand, the state has shifted 200 employees from other divisions into unemployment customer service, hired additional staff, and upgraded its server capacity, Cannon said. The department is working on other fixes as well, including purchasing even more server capacity.

Although the department is hard at work on these changes, it’s not clear when the work will be complete.

*The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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