In response to massive increases in unemployment claims
, state government has come up with a new system for processing the hordes of new claimants: Rush them through in a big, chaotic group.
NASHVILLE - Beginning Thursday, Jan. 29, Tennessee workers will have another means for filing initial claims for unemployment insurance. This new service is a temporary measure to help relieve the state's overloaded telephone network for processing claims.
"In addition to using telephone, Internet, or paper claims forms, claimants will now be able to go to one of 22 Career Centers across the state to take part in a small group session to file their claim," said Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner James Neeley. "Our phone lines have been overwhelmed by the volume of claims we are processing. Offering another means for filing initial claims will help us serve those who have lost their jobs more efficiently."
During the meetings claimants will complete their required forms and learn how to certify their eligibility on a weekly basis, either online or by phone. Weekly eligibility certification is required as long as they are receiving unemployment benefits. At the end of the session, staff will review and process the claims onsite.
Commissioner Neeley emphasized the new option is limited to those who are filing simple lack-of-work claims. Other types of claims, such as voluntary quit or discharge, will not be processed in these sessions.
In order to file during a group meeting, the claimant must have been laid off from his job due to lack of work and must have a separation notice or letter from the employer stating that the separation was because of lack of work or reduction in force (sometimes written as furloughed).
Tennessee employers are urged to provide each of their employees a separation notice stating separation due to lack of work. The separation notice form can be found at www.state.tn.us/labor-wfd/Employers/forms/LB-0489.pdf.
Mass claims sessions will be held at 8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. local time on Mondays and Thursdays and at 8:30 a.m. on Fridays. It is not necessary to make an appointment. Meeting rooms will accommodate a limited number of claimants. Weekly mass claims sessions will continue as long as necessary.
Knoxville's is at 1610 University Ave. Have at it.