Kentucky allows self-employed, independent contractors to qualify for unemployment

Posted at 12:01 PM, Mar 26, 2020

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — More Kentuckians now qualify for unemployment insurance.

On Wednesday, Governor Andy Beshear announced that Kentucky has opened up access to people who are self-employed or work as independent contractors.

"I'm happy to report that as of (Wednesday, 3/25/2020), independent contractors, small business owners, substitute teachers, gig economy workers, child care workers from churches, cosmetologists, and anyone who has had to leave their job because of quarantine or paid leave now qualifies for unemployment in Kentucky," said Beshear.

Before Wednesday, these people were ineligible to receive benefits in Kentucky.

"This means that so many of you who are out there - who are worried - are now able to file and we want you to," said Beshear.

How do you apply? You can call 502-875-0442 or apply online at

Beshear says people who have already filed do not need to do anything. However, those who have not yet filed, are urged to do so.

"If you have not filed, we want you to follow the schedule that we put out," said Beshear.

Due to the increase in applications, the government in using a new system for applications. Based on the first letter of your last name, there is a different day to apply. The schedule is adjusted every week and includes a makeup date, if you missed your day.

However, Beshear says people who received eligibility on Wednesday should file Thursday.

"If your day has already passed, go ahead and try to sign up (Thursday)," said Beshear. "If your last name is coming up later in the week, please wait until that date."

The governor is encouraging all Kentuckians who qualify to get the help they need.

"There is zero stigma - zero - to being on public assistance right now," said Beshear. "I want to make sure you have enough to get through this. Knowing the ramifications of the decisions that I've made - and it's on me - I want to make sure that you get through this in a good place."

Kentucky has also waived certain unemployment benefit rules to ensure that people who lose their jobs because of the virus can access the funds they need more easily.

First, the state waived the mandatory one week waiting period for unemployment benefits. It also eliminated the requirement for those people to search for work while they receive benefits.

"We have waived the waiting period for unemployment. There are not going to be any job search requirements," said Beshear. "Apply for it."