Some Tennessee residents still haven’t gotten unemployment after months of filing

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UPDATE: The state of Tennessee said the issues on Shalonda Tucker’s claim were resolved Friday and the payments were sent out Monday morning.

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Around 9,800 new unemployment claims have been filed in Tennessee, the lowest number of claims filed in a week since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. That’s good news, but some people say they’ve gone months without seeing a dime, despite filing for unemployment.

Shalonda Tucker showed WREG the pages where she says she attempted to certify week after week for unemployment. Tucker says she lost her job April 20 and started to apply for Tennessee unemployment a month later.

She knows she’s not alone.

“We got people out here that’s losing their jobs, their homes, their cars,” Tucker said. “I mean we can’t survive.”

Right now, she’s barely making it. She says she’s been surviving by “begging, borrowing money that I can’t pay back yet until I get my funds.”

She’s also been driving for rideshare companies like Lyft. The money helps but after losing the job in customer service she held for five years, she’s behind in rent and on the brink of losing everything.

“Every time I call the unemployment office they don’t hardly ever answer the phone and then when I talk to someone it’s, ‘your case is a work in progress’,” Tucker said.

WREG reached out to the state about Tucker’s situation. A spokesperson said, “The system stopped Ms. Tucker’s claim because of a social security number issue, which means either her name, date of birth, or Social Security number do not match the information on file.”

The spokesperson went on to say an agent advised Tucker of the issue. But Tucker tells WREG that isn’t true, and she believes she did provide all needed documentation. She showed documentation from July she said she sent the state that she believes clears up any social security issue.

WREG is working to make sure the state has the proper documents needed. We will update this story as we learn more.

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