TN Labor Commissioner: Federal unemployment benefits less than 2 months away from ending

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced Wednesday that CARES Act unemployment benefits will soon be coming to an end. 

The last day to claim benefits through the federal program is December 26. However, claimants could see benefits end before that if they have met their maximum number of allowable weeks for benefits.  

Tennessee currently offers four separate unemployment programs, two of which are funded by the CARES Act: 

  • Tennessee Unemployment Compensation (TUC) – This state program provides benefits to eligible claimants having the required amount of wages earned from a covered Tennessee employer in the applicable base period. Employers pay the premiums that fund the program and individuals earn eligibility through a wage-earning work history. This program provides a maximum of 26 weeks of benefits during the claimant’s benefit year. 
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) – This CARES Act program provides benefits to eligible claimants not having wages earned from a covered Tennessee employer and who are not working due to the COVID-19 pandemic. PUA is available to workers not traditionally covered by unemployment insurance, including self-employed individuals, contract workers, and gig workers. An individual out of work due to a covered COVID-19 qualifying event could also be eligible for PUA. This program lasts for up to a maximum of 39 weeks and PUA claimants are not eligible for any extended benefits programs. Per current federal law, this program ends December 26, 2020. 
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) – This CARES Act program provides eligible claimants up to an additional 13 weeks of unemployment after exhausting benefits in the TUC program. Per current federal law, this program ends December 26, 2020.          
  • Extended Benefits (EB) – This federal program provides eligible claimants up to 13 weeks of additional unemployment after exhausting benefits in both the TUC and PEUC programs. The U.S. Dept. of Labor (USDOL) can end Tennessee’s EB program with little notice to the state or claimants. 

Under the CARES Act, people who started receiving benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program will soon start to reach their maximum 39 weeks of benefits allowed. All PUA benefits end December 26 and once a claimant exhausts benefits on the PUA program, they are not eligible for any other unemployment program. 

If the Department of Labor and Workforce Development determines you are eligible for benefits after December 26, claimant will receive benefits retroactively for the number of weeks they are owed. 

People receiving extended benefits through the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program will also see benefits end after December 26.  

No date has been set for when the Extended Benefits program will end. The U.S. Department of Labor will determine when Tennessee’s economic recovery has reached a point where it no longer needs assistance.  

The Department of Labor and Workforce Development is reminding residents of the Reemploy Tennessee imitative for job seekers transitioning back into the state’s workforce. One-on-one job-seeking assistance is available at American Job Centers locations across the state.

More information on Tennessee unemployment benefits can be found here.

COVID-19 in Tennessee

(This reflects what the TDH is reporting each day at 2 p.m. CST )

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

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