How Do I Apply for Unemployment Benefits with the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development?

Losing your job may be life altering, but using this guide can make it bearable. Having the needed information on hand and becoming familiar with can also help when it comes to applying for benefits and finding out what you can expect next. You will also be able to track your claim's status and then answer the recertification questions from the same page.

Jeff Whelpley is the editor / author responsible for this content.
Apr 28, 2020

If you recently lost your job due to layoffs or any other fault of your own, this guide can make applying for benefits easier with the Tennessee Workforce and Labor Department.

Do You Qualify?

The Tennessee Workforce and Labor Department uses the following factors to define eligibility.

  1. You are unemployed through no fault of your own and are able, available and looking for work. You may file a claim the first day after becoming unemployed or having your hours reduced.
  2. At the time of this writing, you would've needed to earn a minimum base pay of $780.01 in each of two quarters called the Base Period. The Base Period is also the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters prior to the quarter where you filed your claim, and is the base used by many state agencies to calculate benefits.
  3. You also must be able and available for work.
  4. The most common disqualifications are quitting without a good work-related cause, termination due to work-related misconduct, being part of an active-progress labor dispute that is not a lockout or not actively seeking or accepting suitable jobs.

What Information Do You Need?

  1. Your social security and driver's license numbers
  2. Mailing address, email address and phone number
  3. Bank account information if you want your benefits via direct deposit, otherwise the funds will be put on a Tennessee Automated Payment debit card.
  4. Those who served in the military in the last 18 months need their DD 214 Member 4.
  5. Employment history for the last 18 months, including previous employer's name, address, phone numbers and fax numbers. You also need the last date you were employed and the reason you were dismissed.

Ready to Apply Online

  1. Go to, look for the section titled Apply for Benefits and click on Online Application, scroll down until you see the Get Started button and click on it.
  2. Follow the prompts and it will walk you through the application. You will receive two different letters by mail sometime after you submit your application, one will explain your possible benefit amount and the second will advise you of the agency's decision.
  3. Please note that there are other steps involved after you apply that you will need to repeat weekly in order to receive weekly payments.
    1. You will need to look for work online or at local businesses.
    2. You will then need to recertify your weekly payment by answering questions online about the past week's job search and earnings.
    3. If you do return to work, there's no need to report a job search, just complete the weekly certification for the previous week.
  4. Please note that beneath the Get Started button are links for answering the weekly certification questions, tracking your claim's status, filing an appeal or a redetermination. Please contact them here if you have any further questions.

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How Do I Apply for Unemployment Benefits with the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development?

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Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development

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