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Relief Expected This Week For Tennesseans Who Went Weeks Without Unemployment

Samantha Max

Some of the Tennesseans who’ve been out of work the longest during the pandemic ran out of unemployment benefits just before Christmas.

The CARES Act provided up to 39 weeks of aid for people out of work, but for some that ran out in the thick of the holiday season. For example, somebody who lost a job in mid-March would have used up the benefits by the second or third week of December.

Despite the latest stimulus package, those who exhausted their benefits before December 26th have seen a weeks-long gap in weekly checks. But for some, payments will resume as early as this week.

A spokesperson for Tennessee’s Department of Labor says its website is now ready for people who used up their CARES benefits to go back and certify for the weeks they missed. Those certifications must include mandatory job searches.

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Recipients should be able to get retroactive payments that include an additional $300 from the federal government. That amount more than doubles Tennessee’s maximum contribution.

The newest relief package provides for additional unemployment help to last through March 13. In recent weeks, about 70,000 Tennesseans have been receiving unemployment checks.

Alexis Marshall is WPLN News’s education reporter. She is a Middle Tennessee native and started listening to WPLN as a high schooler in Murfreesboro. She got her start in public radio freelance producing for NPR and reporting at WMOT, the on-campus station at MTSU. She was the reporting intern at WPLN News in the fall of 2018 and afterward an intern on NPR’s Education Desk. Alexis returned to WPLN in 2020 as a newscast producer and took over the education beat in 2022. Marshall contributes regularly to WPLN's partnership with Nashville Noticias, a Spanish language news program, and studies Arabic. When she's not reporting, you can find her cooking, crocheting or foraging for mushrooms.
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