Kentuckians frustrated with unemployment filing problems, Beshear explains core issue

Posted at 1:58 PM, Apr 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-14 19:22:41-04

(LEX 18) — Complaints about the state's unemployment system have flooded the LEX 18 newsroom.

Many viewers have a wide range of concerns and say they can't get through to anyone at the state to fix their problem.

Ann Lowery, an independent contractor who works as a hairdresser, filed for benefits nearly three weeks ago.

She said she still has not received a payment and has not been able to get through to the state.

According to Lowery, she can afford to wait for the payment for a little longer. However, she can't wait too long, and she does not know whether something is wrong with her application or whether she needs to be patient.

She said she desperately needs that answer from the state.

"I'm willing to wait, but just let me put this to rest so I can go ahead and worry about something else," Lowery said.

In a press conference Monday, Gov. Beshear empathized with people like Lowery.

"Anybody out there who hasn't been helped yet, you're right," Beshear said. "There shouldn't be any excuse. Even though we've never gone through this before, we will get to it."

Beshear also offered an explanation for the issues.

"We had a computer system built out for what the law on unemployment has basically been, and so you put in your information and if you didn't fall in one of those categories, it spit out a denial and they've actually had to work on that programming and everything else it did electronically just to try to stop those denials from going out," Beshear said.

"Then they had to build in all the other portions of the new people who are able to file, which significantly increased the volume, so basically what we have is a total change in how to do something at the same time when the number of people that need it has increased, maybe not exponentially, but really significantly," Beshear said.

He also reminded the public that the call center staff has increased from 12 people to 1,000 people, and that that takes time to "ramp up".

"I want the Governor and the people both to know I'm not complaining," Lowery said. "I really want to do the right thing. I know our country is in a big crisis, but just the smaller things could make it so much easier."

Lowery said she is starting to lose faith in the system, but she still holds out hope that she will get answers soon.

Meanwhile, the State has offered an explanation for why some people have not yet received their first checks.