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How to get financial help after losing your job

Restaurants, entertainment venues and hotels across Tennessee are furloughing workers or putting them on temporary leave as operations shut down because of the coronavirus outbreak.

As workers consider their financial options, they may turn to unemployment benefits.

Tennessee Department of Labor spokesman Chris Cannon said workers are eligible for benefits if they lose a job through no fault of their own, which would apply in the case of closures tied to the coronavirus.

Gov. Bill Lee announced Tuesday that the state would begin providing unemployment benefits for those who are quarantined by a doctor and will be temporarily out of work. This information is available on the Tennessee Department of Labor website about unemployment in general:

When can you file?

Workers can file a claim for benefits the day after a job ends or after an employer has significantly cut hours. Visit

How much can you get?

Qualified applicants can receive up to $275 a week for as long as 26 weeks. Wages earned in the past 18 months will be used to calculate weekly benefits and the duration of those benefits.

What do you need to apply?

Applicants will need to present a Social Security number, a driver’s license number, address, phone number and email address. They must also detail their last 18 months of employment, the last day worked and reason why they are no longer in that position. The labor department will contact the applicant’s previous employer, who has seven days to respond.

How long does it take to get paid?

It typically takes 21 days for a claim to process. For more information, call 844-224-5818, start a live chat at, or visit unemployment or

What could federal aid look like?

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said Tuesday the Trump administration is exploring legislation that would include sending checks to Americans to help them manage the economic disruption caused by the coronavirus.

The administration proposed an initial $250 billion could be sent to Americans as early as the end of April. Mnuchin said a proposal “on the table” would put “a trillion dollars into the economy” to help combat the impacts of coronavirus.

What other resources exist?

Mayor John Cooper and the United Way of Greater Nashville announced Tuesday a COVID-19 Response Fund to help workers whose income has been affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The fund was launched with $1 million and the money will be deployed through community-based organizations.

For more information about the COVID- 19 Response Fund, or to make a donation, visit covid-19.

Gov. Bill Lee also said in a Tuesday press conference that the state would dip into its reserve of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families funds, which it receives through a federal block grant.

The program will begin issuing payments of up to $1,000 a month for a qualifying family of five that has lost employment as a result of economic disruption due to the coronavirus. The state will also ease restrictions around TANF, although Lee did not specify how those restrictions would change.

The state now has a $732 million reserve.

What about relief for workers from the March 3 tornado?

The Tennessee Department of Labor has established a disaster assistance line for workers impacted by the March 3 tornado. Those whose employment was affected by the tornado could potentially collect Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) benefits from the federal government. The program is for those who don’t qualify for state unemployment benefits, such as those who are self-employed or who work as 1099 contractors, according to Department of Labor officials.

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