State Hires Accounting Firm to Process Remaining 56,000 Jobless Claims

The state has entered into a contract with one of the world’s largest accounting firms in an effort to process over 56,000 unpaid jobless claims filed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Governor Andy Beshear said Tuesday that Ernest and Young will begin working with the state Monday to contact the persons involved and work to get the outstanding claims paid by the end of July.

The Governor said Ernst and Young will provide 300 people to contact people who have filed claims, starting with the oldest claims first.

It’s the second time the Governor has announced a timetable to have all of the state’s jobless claims processed and paid. On April 25, Beshear said at his media briefing he wanted to have nearly 80,000 claims processed by May 1. That didn’t happen.

The contract will cost $7.4 million and will be paid for through the federal CARES Act relief bill passed by Congress and signed into law in March. Beshear said the vendor contract will save the state $20 million in annual costs because current employees will not have to take weeks and months to train new employees.

As consternation on the issue has grown in recent weeks, fueled by Republican state leadership questioning his handling of the unemployment issue, Beshear again took time during his Tuesday media briefing to show slides that also blamed former Governor Matt Bevin’s budget cuts and office closings as well as an outdated system for the continued failure in processing the claims in a timely manner.

More than 900,000 new unemployment claims have been filed in Kentucky since March, with over 90-percent being processed totaling $2.7 billion. Kentucky’s May unemployment rate was 11-percent compared to 14.7-percent in April.

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