2010 Tennessee Code
Title 50 - Employer And Employee
Chapter 7 - Tennessee Employment Security Law
Part 3 - Benefits
50-7-302 - Benefit eligibility conditions.

50-7-302. Benefit eligibility conditions.

(a)  Personal Eligibility Conditions.  An unemployed claimant shall be eligible to receive benefits with respect to any week only if the administrator finds that all of the following conditions are met:

     (1)  The claimant has made a claim for benefits with respect to the week in accordance with rules or regulations the commissioner prescribes;

     (2)  The claimant has furnished to the division of employment security the claimant's social security account number, or numbers, if the claimant has more than one (1) social security account number;

     (3)  The claimant has registered for work, and thereafter continued to report, at an employment office as prescribed by the administrator, except that the administrator may waive or alter either or both of the requirements of this subdivision (a)(3) as to individuals attached to regular jobs and as to such other types of cases or situations with respect to which the administrator finds that compliance with the requirements would be oppressive, or would be inconsistent with the purposes of this chapter; provided, that no prescription, waiver or alteration shall conflict with § 50-7-301(a);

     (4)  The claimant is able to work, available for work, and making a reasonable effort to secure work. In determining whether the claimant is making a reasonable effort to secure work, the administrator shall consider the customary methods of obtaining work in the claimant's usual occupation or any occupation for which the claimant is reasonably qualified, the current condition of the labor market, and any attachment the claimant may have to a regular job;

          (A)  No claimant shall be considered ineligible in any week of unemployment for failure to comply with this subsection (a) if the failure is due to an illness or disability that occurred after the claimant has registered for work, and no work that would have been considered suitable at the time of the claimant's initial registration has been offered after the beginning of the illness or disability. The administrator may, however, in the administrator's discretion, require the claimant to obtain and submit a certificate by a duly licensed physician as to the illness or disability with respect to each week that the illness or disability exists;

          (B)  No otherwise eligible claimant shall be denied benefits for any week because the claimant is in training with the approval of the administrator, nor shall the claimant be denied benefits with respect to any week in which the claimant is in training with the approval of the administrator by reason of the application of this subsection (a) relating to availability for work, or of § 50-7-303(a)(3) relating to failure to apply for, or refusal to accept, suitable work;

          (C)  The unemployment of a claimant for any week or any portion of a week, caused by a plant, departmental or other type of shutdown for vacation purposes shall not be the basis for a denial of benefits for the week, or portion of a week, if the claimant has not or will not receive any vacation pay from the claimant's employer for the period, when so found by the administrator;

          (D)  No otherwise eligible claimant shall be denied benefits by reason of the application of this subsection (a) who subsequent to the claimant's enrollment in and while attending a regularly established school, college or university, has been regularly employed and becomes unemployed and makes the claimant available for all suitable work, as determined by the administrator, to the same extent that the claimant was previously employed while continuing to attend and be enrolled in the regularly established school, college or university, but if the claimant is offered the same job that the claimant previously held immediately prior to entering the school and refuses the job, then the claimant shall become ineligible for the benefits provided by this chapter if the job meets the standards set forth in § 50-7-303(a)(3)(A) and (B) as required by applicable federal law;

          (E)  No provision of this subsection (a) or any other provision of law shall be construed to deny unemployment benefits to any claimant who is a veteran enrolled in school under the Veterans' Educational Assistance Program, commonly known as the “G.I. Bill”, compiled in 38 U.S.C. § 1650 et seq., solely because of the claimant's enrollment and attendance in school, if the claimant is otherwise eligible for the benefits, except that if the claimant is offered the same job that the claimant previously held immediately prior to entering the school and refuses the job, then the claimant shall become ineligible for benefits as provided by § 50-7-303(a)(3) if the job meets the standards set forth in § 50-7-303(a)(3)(A) and (B) as required by applicable federal law; and

          (F)  No claimant who is otherwise eligible shall be deemed ineligible for benefits solely for the reason that the claimant seeks, applies for or accepts only part-time work instead of full-time work, if the part-time work is for a minimum of twenty (20) hours per week;

     (5)  (A)  The claimant has been unemployed for a waiting period of one (1) week. For the purpose of this subsection (a), one (1) week of part total or partial unemployment or other forms of short time work shall be deemed one (1) week of unemployment. No week shall be counted as a week of unemployment for the purposes of this subsection (a), unless:

                (i)  It occurs within the benefit year that includes the week with respect to which the claimant claims payment of benefits;

                (ii)  No benefits have been paid with respect to the week to which the claimant claims payment of benefits; and

                (iii)  The claimant was eligible for benefits with respect to the week to which to the claimant claims payment of benefits as provided in § 50-7-303 and this section, except for the requirements of this subsection (a);

          (B)  Benefits shall be payable to a claimant for the waiting period, provided the claimant has made a claim for benefits and is determined to be eligible and certified for benefits in the waiting period and in each of the three (3) consecutive weeks immediately following the waiting period;

     (6)  The claimant has satisfied the wages requirements of § 50-7-301(b);

     (7)  The claimant has satisfied the requirements of § 50-7-301(d); and

     (8)  The claimant participates in reemployment services, such as job search assistance services, if the claimant has been determined to be likely to exhaust regular benefits and to need reemployment services pursuant to a profiling system established by the administrator, unless the administrator determines that:

          (A)  The claimant has completed the services; or

          (B)  There is justifiable cause for the claimant's failure to participate in the services.

(b)  Special Rules.  The following special rules shall apply in the circumstances indicated:

     (1)  If the qualifying base period wages of the claimant's current benefit year include wages paid prior to the establishment of a previous benefit year, the claimant shall not be eligible for any benefits under this chapter unless the claimant has been paid wages for insured work performed after the establishment of the previous benefit year equal to at least five (5) times the claimant's weekly benefit amount in the claimant's preceding benefit year;

     (2)  Benefits based on service after December 31, 1977, in employment defined in § 50-7-207(b)(3) and (c)(5) shall be payable in the same amount, on the same terms and subject to the same conditions as benefits payable on the basis of other service subject to this chapter; provided, that:

          (A)  With respect to services performed in an instructional, research or principal administrative capacity for an educational institution, benefits shall not be paid based on the services for any week of unemployment commencing during the period between two (2) successive academic years or terms, or, when an agreement provides instead for a similar period between two (2) regular but not successive terms, during that period, or during a period of paid sabbatical leave provided for in the claimant's contract, to any claimant if the claimant performs the services in the first of the academic years or terms, or if there is a contract or a reasonable assurance that the claimant will perform services in that capacity for any educational institution in the second of the academic years or terms;

          (B)  With respect to services performed in any other capacity for an educational institution:

                (i)  Benefits shall not be paid on the basis of the services to any individual for any week that commences during a period between two (2) successive academic years or terms, if the individual performs the services in the first of the academic years or terms and there is a reasonable assurance that the individual will perform the services in the second of the academic years or terms, except that;

                (ii)  If compensation is denied to any claimant for any week under subdivision (b)(2)(B)(i) and the claimant was not offered an opportunity to perform the services for any educational institution for the second of the academic years or terms, the claimant shall be entitled to a retroactive payment of compensation for each week for which the claimant filed a timely claim for compensation and for which compensation was denied solely by reason of subdivision (b)(2)(B)(i);

          (C)  With respect to weeks of unemployment beginning after December 31, 1977, benefits shall be denied to any claimant for any week that commences during an established and customary vacation period or holiday recess that has been predetermined as part of a school calendar prior to the beginning of each fiscal year if the claimant performs any services described in subdivision (b)(2)(A) or (b)(2)(B) in the period immediately before the vacation period or holiday recess, and there is a reasonable assurance that the claimant will perform any such services in the period immediately following the vacation period or holiday recess; and

          (D)  With respect to services performed for any educational institution, benefits shall not be payable on the basis of services in the capacities specified in subdivision (b)(2)(A), (b)(2)(B) or (b)(2)(C) to an individual who performed the services in an educational institution while in the employ of an educational service agency, and for this purpose “educational service agency” means a governmental entity that is established and operated exclusively for the purpose of providing the services to one (1) or more educational institutions;

     (3)  Benefits shall not be paid to any claimant on the basis of any services, substantially all of which consist of participating in sports or athletic events or training or preparing to so participate, for any week that commences during the period between two (2) successive sport seasons, or similar periods, if the claimant performed the services in the first of the seasons, or similar periods, and there is a reasonable assurance that the claimant will perform the services in the later of the seasons, or similar periods; and

     (4)  Benefits shall not be payable on the basis of services performed by an alien unless the alien is an individual who was lawfully admitted for permanent residence at the time the services were performed, was lawfully present for the purposes of performing the services, or was permanently residing in the United States under color of law at the time the services were performed, including an alien who was lawfully present in the United States as the result of the application of the Immigration and Nationality Act, § 203(a)(7) or § 212(d)(5), compiled in 8 U.S.C. §§ 1153(a)(7) [repealed] and 1182(d)(5), respectively.

          (A)  Any data or information required of claimants applying for benefits to determine whether benefits are not payable to them because of their alien status shall be uniformly required from all claimants applying for benefits.

          (B)  In the case of a claimant whose application for benefits would otherwise be approved, no determination that benefits to the claimant are not payable because of the claimant's alien status shall be made except upon a preponderance of the evidence.

(c)  Partial Unemployment Claims.  A penalty in the amount of fifty dollars ($50.00) may be assessed against any employer for failure to file partial claims required by regulations and within the time limits required by regulations for individuals having regular jobs with the employers, but who have sustained underemployment as defined in the regulations. In the event the commissioner finds that the employer had good cause for failure to comply with the regulations, this penalty may be waived.

[Acts 1947, ch. 29, § 4; C. Supp. 1950, § 6901.4 (Williams, § 6901.28); Acts 1951, ch. 139, § 3; 1955, ch. 115, §§ 5, 6; 1957, ch. 146, §§ 4, 5; 1959, ch. 160, § 2; 1959, ch. 202, § 2; 1963, ch. 176, § 3; 1965, ch. 183, § 2; 1971, ch. 204, §§ 4, 5; 1972, ch. 556, §§ 2, 3; 1974, ch. 460, § 4; 1975, ch. 190, § 5; 1975, ch. 367, § 1; 1977, ch. 330, §§ 15-17; 1977, ch. 423, § 1; 1978, ch. 744, §§ 3-7; 1978, ch. 812, § 1; 1979, ch. 336, § 1; 1981, ch. 165, § 1; 1982, ch. 820, § 2; T.C.A. (orig. ed.), § 50-1323; Acts 1983, ch. 368, § 9; 1984, ch. 701, § 2; 1985, ch. 318, § 20; 1985, ch. 323, § 5; 1993, ch. 194, § 12; 1995, ch. 502, §§ 1, 3; 1999, ch. 202, § 1; 2000, ch. 888, § 1; 2009, ch. 550, § 6.]  
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