Lawmakers Overhaul Unemployment Benefits
In one of their last actions in this legislative session…Tennessee lawmakers reached a deal on overhauling the state’s unemployment system yesterday.
By a vote of 26-7 in the Senate and 71-19 in the House the new rules cap the maximum payout period at as low as 12 weeks — which would make it the lowest in the nation. It also would boost the weekly benefits for all eligible Tennesseans by as much as $50. The House had originally proposed a $25 increase, but agreed to adopt the Senate’s $50 version.
Currently, Tennesseans on unemployment can claim up to 26 weeks of benefits. But under this bill, most will see their benefits capped at 13 or 14 weeks based on historical unemployment rates.
Proponents say the bill is an effort to replenish the state’s unemployment trust fund, which has remained for years below the federally recommended level. Opponents argue the bill would cut the overall benefits to Tennesseans in need. The bill would save the state up to $24 million a year in payouts. The bill will now head to Governor Bill Lee’s desk for his signature.