Kentuckians still struggling to get unemployment benefits

Kentucky

FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX 56/WKYT) – Unemployment continues to be a problem in Kentucky.

Gov. Andy Beshear acknowledged the state is taking much longer than it should to process unemployment claims. Thursday, he said the state is working hard to get through the sheer volume of claims left.

“One thing that we are slower than we should be to do is to purge the fraudulent claims, the ones that when you reach out, you can never get a response and the documents are never uploaded or the rest,” Gov. Beshear said.

State Auditor Mike Harmon, who’s running for governor, conducted audits of the unemployment claim process last year. He said the initial autopay system created chaos. He noted several employed state workers even received money when they shouldn’t have.

“They were supposed to ask, ‘do you have any other employment or other income,’” Harmon said. “A lot of those individuals would have been knocked out automatically but, when that autopay was put in place, those questions weren’t asked.”

The autopay system is no longer in use. However, the unemployment claim process is still struggling. The timeliness of first-time claim payments has dropped by more than 68 percent since the start of the pandemic.

The process is frustrating for Troy Stanley who’s been trying to file a claim since February.

“I’ve contacted the governor’s office at least 15 times or 20 times and nothing, an automated response,” Stanley said.

Not having received the $15,000 he says he’s owed, Stanley says he’s now homeless and feels hopeless.

“I really could use that money, but, unfortunately, I guess that’s gone,” Stanley said. “I mean, I don’t know what else to do.”

Gov. Beshear said the unemployment claim system was backlogged before he took office. He also noted the state had not set aside enough money.

Beshear said during the next general session he would ask the state legislature for more money to tackle problems regarding unemployment claims.

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