Errors cleared up for TN unemployment site, but other issues persist

Posted at 9:00 PM, Mar 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-22 22:00:37-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Tennesseans say they’re now able to complete their certifications after the state’s unemployment vendor experienced issues on Sunday.

Ted Foti is one of several people who reported seeing an error message that he says repeatedly crashed his computer.

The only thing that gave Foti some relief was knowing other people saw a lot of the same. What's worse? His job searches disappeared. This is how you prove you’ve looked for work and how you remain eligible for payments every week.

“They disqualified me last week for no job searches and I had 10. This week I had seven and they only show one,” Foti said.

Foti says he wants answers or at the very least, some reassurance that the state has heard these complaints.

“Now this will be the second straight week I’m not going to qualify because it’s not logging my job searches and that’s an issue and I can’t get anybody from anywhere to call me and talk to me, Foti said.

Chris Cannon is an official for the TN Dept. of Labor & Workforce Development. He’s never heard of this problem before but says vendors discovered other issues they’re working to correct.

When people managed to get past the error messages, they noticed their benefit amount was now zero dollars. Which if it has been a year, then yes, you do have to reapply according to federal guidelines.

“This is something that just happened yesterday and too few accounts. There weren’t too many, but there were some across the state who had issues with their accounts when we switched over to the plans from the new stimulus bill. So the vendor is working towards getting those rectified and getting those account balances where they’re supposed to be,” Cannon said.

If your benefit year-end or BYE date has not come and gone, you need to continue certifying when you can. With so many unable to certify on Sunday, Cannon says they’ve extended the window to do so through Monday.

If it’s not one problem, it’s another for Foti. He finally managed to certify Monday afternoon but has no answer for why his work won’t save online. For the hours he spends working on fixing the issue, Foti expects answers and not more problems he can’t control.

Foti calls at least four times a day with an average wait time of 45 minutes before voicemail picks up. The last time he spoke to a real person from TDLWD was four weeks earlier. Cannon says they are working to answer any questions, but call volumes since March 2020 have not let up.

Every time a federal program changes, Cannon says there are many questions from claimants and it’s been that way over the last 12 months.

“Claimants have not caught a break because it keeps changing and putting new programs in. Literally, for the last 12 months, nothing has changed. Volume hasn’t changed, the confusion hasn’t changed. We’re working to do everything we can,” Cannon said.