The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced Tuesday that Hurricane Irma evacuees staying in Tennessee may be eligible for unemployment benefits. 

TDLWD says out-of-state residents, who plan to stay in Tennessee for an extended period of time because their homes or place of employment suffered damage, can file for unemployment insurance. 

“This is a very stressful time for residents chased out of their homes by the hurricane,” said Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD) Commissioner Burns Phillips. “We want to make certain anyone who is staying in Tennessee has all the information they need to get the unemployment benefits they are entitled to, so they have one less thing to worry about.”

A worker displaced by the hurricane should start the unemployment benefits filing process with the state in which they have permanent employment.  They should do this while temporarily residing in the state of Tennessee.  The worker can file for UI benefits through their home-state’s unemployment insurance website.

Typically, a state can directly deposit a displaced worker’s benefits into their bank account, making the funds accessible to them while staying in Tennessee.

Because the federal government will most likely declare areas impacted by the hurricane a federal disaster area, unemployment insurance may be available to persons who typically would not be entitled to benefits.  For example, small business owners and independent contractors may be eligible for benefits through a disaster work grant.  States encourage all workers displaced by the hurricane to file for benefits, to eventually determine if they will be eligible for benefit payment.