Dennis Potvin - Tennessee Democrat

Unemployment Reform

We need to fix unemployment compensation. Too many workers get unemployment too long without any benefit to the community, and many who deserve it don’t get it long enough (or at all). While many states have programs of depreciating unemployment benefits as month’s pass, I am an advocate of laid-off workers eventually becoming temp workers in order to maintain benefits. In other words, once the initial layoff period (with benefits currently offered) has expired, then workers may enroll in state programs such as litter cleanup on our streets and in our parks in order to maintain the same benefits for a longer period. This means that workers are actually working for their extended benefits. Which means no free money is being given by the state for prolonged periods. These would be jobs in which workers may work up to four hours per day as they continue to receive benefits.

In any rate, Tennessee has found a way to try to reduce even the minimum 26-week period that most US states offer laid-off workers. Take a look at’s description of our unemployment benefits and see if you can figure it out. This is a copy and paste from the site:

“Usually, most states permit an individual to obtain unemployment for a maximum of 26 weeks, or half the benefit the benefit year. A few states have standardized benefit duration, while most have different durations depending upon the worker. In a state with varied duration, it is probable that the benefit year may include less than 26 payable weeks.

The calculation is normally which us smaller: 26xWBA or 1/3 BPW. WBA is the Weekly Benefit Amount, so 26xWBA would be the regular week program. 1/3 BPW refers to the Base Period Wages, so if a person did not succeed to earn more than 3 times the standard benefit amount, they will be suitable for fewer weeks of coverage.”

Even with a good college education, I don’t understand this gibberish. The only takeaway for me is that the term “they will be suitable for fewer weeks” means that Tennessee has found a way to not pay workers for even the minimum unemployment period offered by most states. In short – Tennessee needs its unemployment program overhauled, to honor the minimum nationwide benefit period and offer extended benefits for those who are willing to work four hours a day for it.

© 2017 Dennis Potvin
Wesite designed & created by Korey Sokol