MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Thousands of people have lost their jobs temporarily or indefinitely in the Mid-South because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Many of the people filing for unemployment benefits right now have never had to file before.
The Investigators looked into unemployment benefits for Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee, how to apply and how quickly help could become available.
According to the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workplace Development, unemployment claims tripled in the state last week compared to the week before.
Between March 8 and 14, the TDLWD Unemployment Security Division received 6,092 new unemployment claims. In comparison, from March 1 through March 7, the division processed 2,031 new claims.
The TDLWD revamped its website because of the pandemic so both employers and employees can apply for unemployment more easily.
The most amount someone can receive each week is $275 before federal taxes.
Governor Bill Lee has relaxed the rules for unemployment so those who qualify will get money faster and if someone is sick or isolated because of COVID-19, they are still eligible.
“We are seeing thousands and thousands of Tennesseans who are out of work specifically because their employee had to shut down due to COVID-19,” said TLWD spokesman Chris Cannon. “We want to help them get the assistance we can offer them as quickly as possible.”
The Department announced Friday that it is increasing the number of people processing unemployment claims to more people approved quickly.
Arkansas’s Governor announced Wednesday that unemployment benefits will be expedited and the qualifications for unemployment have been temporarily relaxed in the state.
You can file a claim on the Division of Workforce Services website.
Mississippi is also offering unemployment benefits but it’s unclear if there have been any direct changes to the program because of COVID-19. You can apply on their Department of Employment Security website.
Renters have reached out to the Investigators saying they’re worried they won’t be able to pay their rent and will be evicted.
Most courts in the Mid-South are closed, however. For example, Shelby County will not hear eviction cases through at least March 31.