More than half a million Kentuckians file for unemployment in one month, officials explain why some claims are under investigation

Posted at 11:24 AM, Apr 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-16 17:21:14-04

(LEX 18) — More than 5.2 million Americans filed unemployment claims between April 5 and April 11. That brings the country's unemployment number to 22 million people in the four weeks since President Donald Trump declared a national emergency.

It's a job loss level the United States has not seen since the Great Depression.

In Kentucky, unemployment numbers reveal that a significant chunk of the workforce is currently out of work.

115,763 people in Kentucky filed unemployment claims between April 5 and April 11. The prior week, 117,575 people filed. In total, the state says it has received 521,592 claims since March 16.

Kentucky says more than $150 million has been paid out, but it is working to process all the other claims.

If you are having trouble receiving your unemployment money, the state says you likely fall into four possible situations. Josh Benton, the deputy secretary of the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, says these are the four possibilities:

  1. You're still in the 13-15 day window since filing
  2. You've requested initial payment or opened additional claims
  3. Your identity needs verification
  4. Your claim is under investigation

If your claim is under investigation, that could mean several different things. However, Benton says it all essentially comes down to your claim needing a little more review.

"There's a few things that come into play there," Benton said. "One is an employer protest. So if you say you lost your job, but your employer has the right to verify that, and if they say they have a conflict, we have to review that and sort that out before we can process the payment."

Benton says the state isn't seeing many employer protests right now, but it is still something that's going on.

Another issue that may cause your claim to be under investigation is missing information.

"We'll reach out to folks if it's missing information," said Benton. "To get that cleaned up as quickly as we can."

A more complicated issue that causes a claim investigation is a multi-state claim.

"So if you worked in multiple states, we have to work with that state to verify your wages and that sort of thing, before we can make the payment and the payment comes after that gets worked out," said Benton.

Another issue that Benton considers a more complicated one is a past unemployment issue.

"It could be a past unemployment insurance issue, like an over-payment, or potentially a fraud issue," said Benton. "We just have to get cleaned up and verified before then."