Frustration and feeling lucky are among reactions to TN’s unemployment claims

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NASHVILLE,Tenn.(WKRN) – Trying to get unemployment benefits in Tennessee can lead to frustration or a sense of feeling lucky.

They are two very different reactions to getting claims processed in a state where claims jump to a record near 250,000 in the last three week period reported.

“I can’t get anyone on the phone with the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development or I can’t get an email returned,” said Craig Caudill about the department that manages the state’s unemployment benefits. “I understand they are overwhelmed at this time that there are several of us out here who still need help.”

That is an understatement with much of Tennessee’s hospitality industry shut down because of COVID-19, but with the record number of claims, callers sometimes get a “beep, beep” before their line is disconnected,

For those online, a box often pops up saying “live chats are not available.”

While acknowledging that many are having trouble with their claims being process, the labor department says many claims are getting processed and people paid.

“I got my 600-dollars (stimulus check) and my normal unemployment ($275 weekly) and received that today with direct deposit,” said Lorilee Bell, who applied for her state unemployment in March. “I was lucky as because i applied on the 18th and was approved eight days later.”

The state labor department hopes there are soon more cases like Lorilee’s with 50-new agents just added to take calls, along with hundreds more working on unemployment claims.  

The labor department says 117,000 claimants have been paid $94-million dollars as of Tuesday.

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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