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How to Calculate Unemployment Benefits for Tennessee

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If you were employed in Tennessee during the past 18 months, and you have become unemployed through no fault of your own, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits. You must establish a claim for weekly benefits with the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development. You may file this claim on the Internet (see Resources) or by telephone. If you qualify, the amount of your benefit will be calculated according to your most recent earnings.

Calculate the total amount paid to you as an employee in each of the last five calendar quarters. It does not matter when you earned the wages, only when they were paid to you.

Locate your total wages for the earliest four out of the previous five calendar quarters. From these figures, calculate the average of the two highest paid quarters. If the average is greater than $780, these four quarters make up your Base Period. If not, repeat the calculation for the latter four out of the previous five calendar quarters. If the average is greater than $780, these four quarters make up your Base Period. If you do not meet these amounts you are not eligible for unemployment benefits.

Download the benefit table that corresponds to the average of the two highest paid quarters in your Base Period (see Resources). Use the benefit table to determine your weekly benefit amount.

Locate your total wages for the four quarters of your Base Period. Compare these figures to the lesser of the following two amounts: a) six times your weekly benefit or b) $900. If any of the quarters in your Base Period fail to exceed this amount, you are not eligible for unemployment benefits.

Add $15 to your weekly benefit for each minor child you support. This supplement is limited to $45.

Tip

Benefits are subject to federal, state and local income tax. You may elect to have your estimated tax obligation withheld from your benefit payment.

Warning

If you earn qualifying wages during a benefit week, they will be subtracted from that week’s benefit amount. Qualifying wages are those in excess of the greater of $50 or 25 percent of the claimant’s weekly benefit payment.

References

About the Author

William Carpenter began writing professionally in 2004, working with nongovernmental organizations and business clients while living in China. He maintains clients in China while writing for a variety of U.S. publications. Carpenter holds a Bachelor of Science in economics from Portland State University.

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