(WMC-TV) – People waiting to get unemployment checks will have to wait even longer.
The number of unemployed people in Tennessee is rising. It is causing a backlog of paperwork, which means a delay for recipients.
Tennessee is just one of the many states falling behind the mandated time to award unemployment benefits.
That is not welcomed news for Derek Alexander, who is without a job and waiting on his unemployment check.
"I spoke with a gentleman last week and it went from six to eight weeks to eight to ten weeks, so I'm going into my 10th week now and it's really hard," said Alexander.
According to the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, an estimated 6,000 people apply for unemployment in the state each week.
On the backlog list there are roughly 27,000 people. Now, the state is trying to lower that number by hiring 50 new staff members.
"If hiring 50 more individuals to process the claims will speed things up a bit, it would help a lot," said Alexander.
The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development is so swamped with applicants seeking unemployment that they are not meeting federal marks for getting the benefits out.
"It can be pretty devastating for someone who has been waiting eight to ten weeks. What are you to do? You have no source of income. You can't tell your creditors give me eight to ten weeks. Your creditors aren't going to do that, so it gets pretty frustrating and stressful," explained Alexander.
The federal government requires the agency to pay within 21 days; however, Action News 5 is told the state is only able to do that 80 percent of the time.