State Re-Opens Phone Appointment Process for Unemployment

 

The state unemployment office has reopened a phone appointment process for Kentuckians needing help filing their unemployment claim.

Appointments made last year had been booked through the end of 2020 and requesting appointments for 2021 were not available until this week.

Unemployment filers can schedule an appointment at kcc.ky.gov. However, there were already reports Friday that attempts to schedule appointments were unsuccessful.

Since the pandemic began, there have been 1.5 million unemployment claims filed in the state. Amy Cubbage is one of Governor Andy Beshear’s general counsels and has been the public face of the state labor cabinet for the past several months. She said Friday the state still has 90,000 initial claims that are still unresolved with a quarter of them filed in the past three months. Cubbage said 60,000 of those claims are fraudulent.

click to download audioPeople who have filed and not received any money are growing frustrated with the system that has offered little in-person help due to COVID-19.

While schools have been on a mostly virtual format using internet technology, Cubbage said the state has not offered live information webinars or zoom conferences to answer questions because of the lack of internet access across the state.

click to download audioCubbage said the state’s website does offer a chat option for those who may have a question.

The state offered on-person help around the state for several days in July and August. Beshear said there is no timetable to reopen the regional unemployment offices for face-to-face problem solving because other state offices are starting to close once again due to a rise in COVID-19 cases.

click to download audioCubbage said the state is working to correct the issue so that Kentuckians who received the overpayment will not have to return it.

click to download audioBeshear has already committed spending upwards of $300 million of federal CARES Act funding to pay down the $865 million federal loan Kentucky required in June. More CARES Act money is being used to help unemployed workers who were left out of the $400 a week in extra benefits for those who’ve been waiting for more than two months for benefits.

Beshear’s budget proposal announced Thursday also includes $48 million to overhaul Kentucky’s outdated unemployment computer system and $8 million to re-staff the regional unemployment offices that were closed by former Governor Matt Bevin during a period of record-low unemployment.