The Unemployment Insurance Program, commonly referred to as UI, provides workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own with weekly unemployment insurance payments. The UI program is 100% funded by employers who pay taxes on wages paid to employees.
It’s January meaning seasonal workers from Gatlinburg, TN and the Pigeon Forge dinner shows and all over the US are calling, emailing and doing weekly certifications at the TN Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development.
My article, How to File for Unemployment and Weekly Certification for Seasonal Workers in TN, explains where and how to file for unemployment benefits in TN. I also explain how to answer weekly certification questions, how to claim earnings and earning limits found on your “Wage Transcription and Initial Monetary Determination”.
In this article I plan to talk about ways to fix basic unemployment problems when you make simple mistakes that can cost you time and money.
How to Avoid Weekly Certification Problems?
Most important when doing weekly certifications at the TN Dept of Labor website is answering all questions correctly as this will immediately disqualify you for benefits. Contacting the claims center at 615-532-1800, 1-800-689-9799 or 1-800-262-8094 is the only way to fix this. They have a link to email questions also at https://tdlwd.tn.gov/ui_contact/, but with a 14 to 21 day response time this is not an option I would use.
It’s my seventh year answering weekly certification questions online. Every year the unemployment site is updated meaning questions and/or requirements change. This year they changed how questions loaded and were asked. In the confusion, I made the fatal mistake of incorrectly answering the trick question mentioned in my article. Generally our seasonal workers are scheduled one day a week. This money has to be reported or you will have to pay back unemployment benefits. This is the main question that everyone gets wrong.
Did you do any work for an employer including temporary, part-time or full-time? Answer: If laid off “lack of work” and worked hours during the week you are claiming answer YES.
Are you still working? Answer: The trick question. “Lack of Work” employees will answer YES. Almost everyone answers “no” including me.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This year, I went back and answered this question wrong, because I didn’t see where I could enter my earnings. After answering YES to working and YES to still working it will then give you the option to enter in earnings that week.
Alternative Ways to Fix Unemployment and Weekly Certification Errors?
I take care of things immediately, so when it takes a company or government weeks to do something that can be handled in minutes or never needed doing, I get aggravated spending another hour, day or week to get an answer. On that note, I have called the claims center and listened to angry grandpa (you understand if you’ve called) hundreds of times. Sometimes I hold for an operator, but on average call back, because they can’t take calls at that time.
Another option on the TN Dept of Labor and Workforce Development page, below Apply for Unemployment and Weekly Certification links (bottom of page) is “Employment Security Division“. Left side of this page click on “Contact US” , then “Division Contacts“. On this page are additional emails and phone numbers I use. I usually get a call back in one or two days after leaving a message, if unable to get through to the claims center.
Where to Find Need Unemployment Assistance?
Worth mentioning after calling the main office several times at (615) 741-6642 the message mentions a Need Unemployment Assistance program or form. I thought this was an additional website, but supposedly is a form on the main website at www.TN.gov/Labor-wfd according to the message. I cannot find this form even when typed into their search box. It either doesn’t exist or was removed.
I hope this helps streamline and understand filing for unemployment benefits in the future. Good luck!
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