What to Expect After Filing for Unemployment in Tennessee


Unemployment insurance allows Tennessee employees who have lost their jobs to receive weekly cash benefits by debit card, check or direct deposit while they search for employment. Applicants can file online, by mail or by phone in order to receive benefits. As long as a resident meets the minimum requirements set by the state, the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development will let him draw benefits for up to 26 weeks as of April 2011.

Time Frame

If an applicant applies for unemployment benefits by telephone, he will receive rejection or approval by the end of the call. Processing of an application by mail can take up to 14 business days. Applicants who apply online will receive an approval or rejection notice within 12 business days, according to the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DLWD). If an applicant does not receive a response after submitting an application online or by mail, he can call the Tennessee UI Claims Center at 877-813-0950.


An individual will receive a verbal approval or rejection by phone or a approval or rejection notice by mail. If approved, an unemployed Tennessee resident will receive notice of her first payment date and the method of payment. If she chooses payment by debit card, she will receive her card in the mail with the notice. If the resident receives a rejection notice from the DLWD, she can appeal the decision within 15 days of the receipt of a rejection notice. The DLWD will then give her the right to a hearing where she can explain her case.

Weekly Certification

When drawing unemployment benefits, a Tennessee resident must call the Tennessee Employment Security Information and Payment System (TIPS) phone number every week to certify her benefits by dialing 615-532-1800 if in Nashville or 800-689-9799 everywhere else in the state. Individuals who have a Social Security Number (SSN) with the last digit ending in 0, 2, 4, 6 or 8 must call between 8 a.m. and midnight (central) on Sunday, while those with an SSN ending in 1, 3, 5, 7 or 9 must call between 7 a.m. and midnight (central) on Monday.


As long as a Tennessee resident receives approval and re-certifies his unemployment benefits, the DLWD will pay a Tennessee resident his benefits one of three ways, including checks by mail, a debit card or a direct deposit option. Debit cards offer a transfer of funds onto an individual’s card the same day he calls the TIPS line, and the recipient can use an ATM and his personal identification number (PIN) to withdraw funds or a card reader at a local store to spend funds. With direct deposit, the state will deposit funds into an unemployed resident's bank account the same day if the recipient calls before his bank closes or the next day if after bank hours, and checks can take a few days to process and arrive in the mail.

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