Learn About Unemployment Insurance Requirements in Tennessee

Tennessee Unemployment Requirement Information

One of the first steps to claiming your benefits is understanding the qualifications for unemployment in Tennessee. The state has a specific set of requirements in place to determine who qualifies for unemployment benefits. Unemployment insurance eligibility requirements are typically based around two major factors: the current state of the applicant, and the reason for the applicant’s unemployment. These factors, along with the documents provided for unemployment, will help prove the applicant’s eligibility for EDD.

If you are interested in learning about how to qualify for unemployment, read more in the following sections:


•    Who qualifies for unemployment in Tennessee
•    Requirements and Qualifications for Unemployment in Tennessee

Tennessee Unemployment Resources




Who Qualifies for Unemployment in Tennessee

While many individuals may apply for unemployment benefits in Tennessee, only some will meet unemployment insurance eligibility.  Due to the fact that unemployment insurance is intended as a temporary solution, the majority of the requirements to determine who qualifies for unemployment are based upon the applicant’s ability and willingness to work.

An applicant must fall under the following requirements to maintain eligibility for unemployment in Tennessee:

  • Be physically and mentally able to pursue work at the time of filing a claim. 
  • Must actively be seeking out employment and keeping adequate record of all applications placed.
  • Be unemployed due to no fault of their own, due to reasons accepted by Tennessee state law.
  • Must continue active involvement in any employment programs assigned to them by the state of Tennessee.

While the majority of these requirements are set in place, there may be some exceptions to continue receiving unemployment insurance coverage made on a case by case basis. Claims in which the applicant is experiencing a temporary physical disability, or circumstances such as domestic violence or a physically disabled family member may still allow eligibility for unemployment. 

Still, there are circumstances such as current or pending incarceration that may prevent the applicant from seeking full time work, in which case the applicant will not hold eligibility for EDD. 

These unemployment claim requirements are not just required during an initial claim application. Once an applicant has been approved for unemployment insurance, he or she will be required to maintain the qualifications for unemployment through weekly claims and continued job searches. Failure to do so can interrupt eligibility for unemployment and terminate a recipient’s benefits. 

In order to prove continued eligibility for unemployment in TN, it is vital to keep clear and accurate records of each filed job application. Be sure to have record of the date of contact, name of employer contacted and method of contact for every job applied for. If a candidate is offered suitable work, it is required that he or she accept it and report it to the unemployment department immediately. In the state of Tennessee, suitable work is defined as work that matches your experience or training and provide realistic wage and work conditions. 

Aside from your ability to seek out and fill full time employment, the state of Tennessee will also be reviewing your reasons for unemployment to determine whether it was a result of your own doing. Review the following section to ensure that your reason for termination does not prevent you from holding eligibility for EDD. 

Requirements and Qualifications for Unemployment in Tennessee

Applicants who qualify for unemployment in Tennessee are unemployed due to reasons that come at no fault of their own. Some of the state approved reasons for unemployment include:

  • Being terminated due to layoffs, reduction-in-force (RIF), or other uncontrollable economic reasons. 
  • The applicant was found to lack the necessary skill set required to fulfill the duties of the job position.
  • The applicant was forced to voluntarily leave his or her job due to unavoidable reasons such as sexual harassment, personal disability or illness, hazardous work conditions, or the illegal withholding of payment. 

Reasons for termination that may disqualify your unemployment insurance eligibility include:

  • Willful or blatant disregard for your employer’s interest.
  • Being terminated due to repeated misconduct going against work place rules and standards. 
  • Being unable to perform work duties do to drug and/or alcohol use during work hours. 
  • Theft or property damage exceeding a value of $25.

There are some circumstances in which the denial of unemployment benefits may be temporary. In cases which your termination came as a direct result of misconduct or voluntary leave, petitioners may still be able to claim insurance benefits after a period of six weeks. After these six weeks, candidates will be allowed to collect insurance benefits for the remaining 20 weeks. The final decision regarding who qualifies for unemployment will be made on a case by case basis and in some cases may be appealed. 

Once a candidate understands how to qualify for unemployment insurance benefits, it’s important to ensure that all documents and statements included in the claim are accurate. Remember, former employers will be informed about the claim, and will be asked to provide their own information about the petitioner’s termination. It is up to the former employer to prove that the candidate’s termination was a direct result of his or her actions and not a case of wrongful termination. The employer will be asked to be present during the applicant’s unemployment hearing, or to submit a written testimony to help determine eligibility for unemployment. 

In order to maintain your eligibility for EDD, it is vital that you maintain transparency throughout the claim process. Report any change in employment immediately. If you take on part time employment you may still hold part time eligibility for unemployment benefits. However, if you fail to report your change in employment you may lose your benefits and even be accused of committing fraud. For this reason, it is best to abstain from knowingly making any false statements or withholding any facts with the intention to obtain or continue benefits. 

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