Kentucky unemployment backlog doubles within a year

Posted at 4:16 AM, Jul 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-04 11:11:35-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WAVE) — In June of 2020, Governor Andy Beshear announced the state was hiring Ernst & Young accounting firm to process all 56,000 outstanding unemployment claims.

WAVE 3 News reports that the state spent $14.5 million for the firm's work, yet the number of unprocessed claims sits at 122,000. It's reported that around 9,000 of those claims were filed in March, April, and May of 2020, according to the state Labor Cabinet.

Governor Beshear has blamed the previous administration for cutting unemployment office positions and the state General Assembly for not updating the state unemployment system.

During a recent Team Kentucky briefing, the Governor said, "You cannot starve your safety net during good times because you can’t rebuild it during traumatic, pandemic times."

WAVE 3 News reports that former Governor Steve Beshear turned down $90 million from the federal government during his administration to improve the state's unemployment system following the Great Recession of 2008. Kentucky was one of 11 states to turn the money down.

A spokesperson for the Governor says the unemployment office has processed more than two million unemployment claims since March of 2020.