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Kentucky unemployment insurance implements new procedures to manage influx of claims from workers affected by COVID-19 state of emergency

Bill Stephens

March 20th, 2020

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 New phone lines are available for laid-off workers, employers

FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 19, 2020) — In an effort to serve the large influx of Kentuckians who are filing for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits as efficiently as possible during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet (EWDC) is implementing new UI filing procedures and starting new local office phone lines for customers.“My obligation is to keep people safe during this time. I realize many of the steps I am taking to protect Kentuckians during this COVID-19 emergency are affecting employers and workers financially,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “Temporarily waiving some of the UI benefit rules during this time is one step I can do to help protect Kentuckians financially. I know this is a difficult time but we are going to get through this by working together to help each other.” Beginning today, Kentuckians filing for UI benefits should follow a schedule that pertains to the first initial in their last name as to what day they can file their claim.  The schedule can be found here.

“We are putting this new procedure in place so that we can handle the large influx of new claims that we are seeing this week. The number of UI claims being processed by the cabinet has jumped significantly after new restrictions were placed on restaurants and other public places,” said EWDC Deputy Secretary Josh Benton.“Please follow this new process if you are filing a UI claim so that our computer and phone systems will perform at optimal levels. We want to make sure we can receive and process claims for all those experiencing job losses,” said Benton. Effective immediately, Kentucky Career Centers (KCC) across the state have been closed to the public to prevent the spread of COVID-19 but KCC workers are still providing services by telephone and videoconference. Below are the location and phone number individuals can call for KCC services including UI questions. Please use the phone number for the location nearest you so that no location is overwhelmed by customers.
Bowling Green area     270-746-7425

Elizabethtown area270-766-5115
Covington area859-292-6666Hazard area888-503-1423Hopkinsville area270-889-6509Lexington area859-233-5940Louisville area502-595-4003Morehead area606-783-8525Owensboro area270-686-2502Paducah area270-575-7000Prestonsburg area888-503-1423Somerset area606-677-4124 Claimants can also call the UI Help Line at 502-564-2900, if they have questions.In addition to these new ways to communicate with KCC staff, other KCC programs are continuing to assist customers through the following services. Re-employment Services and Eligibility Assessment (RESEA) helps laid-off people get back to work faster. Trade assistance helps workers who have lost their job as a result of increased imports out of the United States. Employment services assist job seekers with items such as resume writing, job search, and training opportunities. Veteran services helps those who have served in the armed forces with finding a job or training opportunities. Business services such as rapid response, recruitment and work-based training assist employers. On March 16, Gov. Andy Beshear directed EWDC to waive the state’s seven-day waiting period to receive UI benefits and the work-search requirement for UI benefits during the state of emergency. As a result, the following policy has been activated. An individual is laid off and files an initial claim application to request UI benefits. After claimant files and requests payment, UI staff conducts eligibility review and processes benefit requests concurrently. If approved, an initial payment is authorized for 14 days of benefits. A claimant may request benefits every two weeks. This process may continue for a maximum of 26 total weeks or until the claimant obtains employment or returns to work. The weekly benefit amount is based on the worker’s past wages. All of the new measures have been implemented to help people who have temporarily lost their jobs or are quarantined because of COVID-19.###

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