File Online application to extend unemployment benefits

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development is on schedule to complete the online applications for the latest federal extension of unemployment benefits. The application will be available on the Tennessee Department of Labor's Internet site on Dec. 11, and the first benefit payments are expected to be mailed Dec. 18.

“This project has been given the highest priority, and the department’s Information Technology division has worked nights, weekends and holidays to do the extensive programming required of our systems to extend these benefits,” said Labor Commissioner James Neeley. “Those who have already exhausted their benefits should look for instructions in the mail this week with the status of their claim.”

The online application will be necessary for claimants who have exhausted all prior benefits. Additionally, those who exhausted benefits prior to the Feb. 27, 2009, deadline for State Extended Benefits may also be eligible and are encouraged to apply.

Tennesseans who exhaust their State Extended Benefits (EB09) after Dec. 17, 2009, will automatically transition into the new program without having to reapply.

“During this slow economic period, we have seen an unprecedented number of Tennesseans staying on unemployment until they exhaust their benefits,” said Neeley. “This will give those who are still looking for work more time to cover their expenses through the holidays and into 2010.”

This federally-funded extension is the fourth announcement of benefits beyond the initial 26 weeks of unemployment compensation provided by the state. While the intent of the bill was to add 20 weeks of payments, an oversight in the way the federal law was structured prevented individuals from receiving the maximum weeks of entitlement. Depending on an individual’s initial claim eligibility, wage history and subsequent employment status, the maximum entitlement for the latest extension of unemployment benefits is 14 weeks.

The Department of Labor and Workforce Development has posted details of the extension with an extensive list of frequently asked questions on their Internet home page at www.tn.gov/labor-wfd. For Tennesseans without Internet access, Tennessee Career Centers throughout the state are available at no charge. To find a Career Center in your area please go to www.tn.gov/labor-wfd/cc/cccounty.htm or call 1-800-576-3467.

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