NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — As the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 continues to climb in Tennessee, the same is being said for new unemployment claims.
The numbers were on a slight decline around the end of May and into early June. Yet, in the past three weeks, the state has seen an increase in new claims filed.
The week ending in July 4 totaled more than 25,000. This is the first time Tennessee has topped 24,000 since May.
More than 691,000 new unemployment claims since March 15 have been file through the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
One of those claims belongs to Brian Johanan. He worked two decades at the same retail store until COVID-19 came along.
He was laid off on May 22 and filed for unemployment benefits on May 31; since then, he hasn’t seen a penny.
“Nothing seems to be happening like it’s passed that time period. It’s well over a month now,” said Johanan, “I’m like in week seven of no benefits whatsoever, nothing being made, no progress being made on my claim.”
Johanan joined a Facebook group with hundreds of others in the same boat as him when it comes to receiving benefits. He says right now, it’s the only place offering him information.
“People all in the same circumstance Just people waiting and waiting and waiting; and then you see all these new people with the same exact thing with ‘I just filed what’s happening’ and well you’re going to be waiting eight weeks I guess, same as everyone else to even attempt to hear anything,” said Johanan.
Johanan says he wants lawmakers to pay attention. He says he’s not worried about playing politics, he’s worried about how he’s going to pay his bills.
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