Almost 1.5 million unemployment insurance claims have been filed in Kentucky

Posted at 4:24 PM, Jan 08, 2021

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Today, Amy Cubbage, general counsel for Gov. Beshear, said of the almost 1.5 million claims, only 90,000 initial claims across all programs have unresolved issues.

“A number of those claims appear to be fraudulent claims that will never pay out, and we estimate the true number of claims in that group is approximately 30,000. Only about 5% of claimants have outstanding initial issues, with about a quarter of those having filed in the last three months,” Cubbage said. “We are also proud that we have been able to pay benefits to more than 90% of claimants, where prior to the pandemic our average payment rate was 75%.”

Cubbage also provided more information about the new federal benefits provided by Congress in December in the Continued Assistance Act. The Continued Assistance Act provided:

  • An 11-week extension of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program for non-traditional and contract employees, which means claimants under that program can qualify for a total of 50 weeks;
  • An 11-week extension of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program, which provides some claimants who have exhausted traditional UI benefits continued benefits;
  • An opportunity to regain the Extended Benefits program; and
  • An 11-week $300 per week supplement similar to the $600 per week supplement Congress provided during the spring and summer.

She explained more about stimulus payments for unemployment insurance claimants announced by the Governor last night. The Office of Unemployment Insurance (OUI) is working on programming to get these payments out to those who qualify by the end of next week. These are one-time payments that will arrive in the same manner as regular unemployment payments, whether by direct deposit to a bank account or a prepaid debit card. There are two types of payments under this program:

  1. A $1,000 payment to people who have filed claims from March 4 through Oct. 31 and have yet to have their claims resolved. Kentuckians are eligible if OUI has proof of identity and if their claims have not been flagged as fraudulent. Approximately 20,000 to 24,000 Kentuckians are eligible for these payments.
  2. A $400 payment to people who would have qualified for the $400 FEMA supplemental payment in August and September, but didn’t have a benefit amount high enough to qualify under the President’s order. People who drew a weekly benefit amount of $175 or less in November and December will qualify for the $400. Approximately 60,000 Kentuckians are eligible for these payments.

“Watch the KCC website for updates on timing and more specific details about these payments,” Cubbage said. “Also, if you receive your benefits on a prepaid debit card, please check the notice on the KCC website about the upcoming change in debit card providers. There will be a lag between providers, so unless you change your payment method to direct deposit into a bank account you will receive a paper check for a short period of time. If you prefer to receive a check rather than a direct deposit, please make sure we have your correct address.”

Finally, Cubbage provided an update on overpayments to claimants.

“You may remember that early in the pandemic we had some issues with mistaken payments being made to claimants, and now they’ve been asked to pay those back. As you know, the Governor asked us to find a way to forgive those overpayments because those were our mistake, not yours,” Cubbage said. “The Continued Assistance Act actually amended the federal law and allows us to waive those, but state law doesn’t at this time. So we are hoping the General Assembly will give us the flexibility to waive those payments while they are here. We look forward to working with them to achieve that.”