I thank the Lord every day for my job.
By the looks of some of your e-mails, a lot of you do, too.
It also looks like some of you aren't sure you'll have a job next week, much less next year.
"Linda" of Lakeland, TN, wrote this e-mail:
"I wanted to see if this was when you are forced to retire, can you draw unemployment, if you take a buy out or just when? Also does this include food stamps?"
Linda, to apply for unemployment, you would have to file a NO-FAULT LACK OF WORK CLAIM online or with your local department of labor's unemployment office.
You would have to show a SEPARATION NOTICE from your employer that proves you were let go by no fault of your own. If you're ever fired or discharged for disciplinary reasons, it will be difficult if not impossible these days to get unemployment benefits.
Now, the cash benefits vary depending on each applicant's condition, but here are the Mid-South state's maximum weekly unemployment benefits, according to the U.S. Department of Labor:
* TENNESSEE: $275 A WEEK
* MISSISSIPPI: $210 A WEEK
* ARKANSAS: $409 A WEEK
The Obama administration's stimulus package adds an extra $25 a week, but remember, those are MAXIMUMS. Your benefit may be a lot less, depending on your circumstances.
For Tennessee unemployment applicants, click here to see videos on how to apply for unemployment and what to expect from a mass claim session:
If you would rather apply in person, here are locations in the Memphis area:
Tennessee Career Center at Memphis Mendenhall 5368 South Mendenhall Mall
Tennessee Career Center at Memphis Poplar 1295 Poplar Avenue
Tennessee Career Center at Memphis Raleigh 2850 Old Austin Peay Highway
For a one-stop shop on the web to link to any state's unemployment resources, click here:
To apply for food stamps in Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas:
http://www.arkansas.gov/dhs/sgFamily.html (Scroll down to the toll-free number for the food stamp program)