Tennessee suspends unemployment benefits to at least 12,000 due to computer network outage


Tennessee is suspending unemployment benefit payments to at least 12,000 unemployed workers due to a computer network outage by the vendor that handles data processing for the state’s unemployment benefit program.

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced late Tuesday that it cannot access unemployment claims data to make weekly unemployment benefit payments until Geographic Solutions be able to restore network service for the state unemployment system and labor data exchange, known as Jobs4TN.gov.

Geographic Solutions’ network service was disrupted on Sunday, preventing Tennessee Department of Labor employees from assessing job applications, unemployment claims and other information to process unemployment benefits paid to the unemployed. looking for another job. The network shutdown, which also prevented job seekers from finding available jobs throughout Tennessee, hampered service to Tennessee and about three dozen other states, officials said.

“GSI is working around the clock to get Jobs4TN.gov back online,” Chris Cannon, director of communications at the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, said in a statement late Tuesday. “Until Jobs4TN.gov resumes normal operations, the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development cannot access claimant data to pay weekly unemployment benefits.”

In Nebraska, which also uses GSI to manage unemployment claims data, officials attributed the service disruption to a cyberattack.

“Geographic Solutions suffered a cyberattack that took our labor exchange and unemployment claims system offline,” the company wrote to the Nebraska Department of Labor.

GSI, headquartered in Palm Harbor, Fla., said its team is “working around the clock to restore these systems to all users as soon as possible.”

In Tennessee, Cannon said Labor Department heads met throughout Monday and Tuesday with representatives from GSI and the U.S. Department of Labor to identify ways to restore service.

While the Jobs4Tn.gov website is down, job seekers can still take advantage of the services of one of 80 U.S. Job Centers across the state, Cannon said.

“The department will distribute benefits as soon as possible. At this time, there is no timeline as to when this will occur,” Cannon said in a statement. “Once the system is operational, claimants can complete their certifications for any missed weeks, and they will receive a lump sum for any late payment.”

People laid off or losing their jobs and trying to reapply for unemployment will have to wait for further instructions on how to apply once the system is up and running.

Cannon said those instructions will be available on the department’s website at www.TN.gov/workforce.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or 423-987-2620.


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