Thousands of unemployment claims from March still unanswered

Posted at 9:58 AM, May 02, 2020

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Many people who lost jobs since the pandemic began are still waiting to receive unemployment benefits. Some claims date back to March.

Last Saturday, Governor Andy Beshear noted Kentuckians were understandably frustrated as they waited for their unemployment insurance. He then offered words of reassurance.

"If you signed up in March and you haven't been helped That is absolutely unacceptable. We are going to be working really hard this week to resolve all of those," said Governor Beshear.

On Friday, the governor announced more than 24,000 claims from March are still unresolved.

"I was really hopeful mine would be one of the ones they'd fix," said Brandi Miller.

Miller told LEX 18's Leigh Searcy she watches the governor's press briefings every day, so she's heard these promises many times.

But for Miller, these words just don't cut it.

"I had a rough day yesterday I kind of lost hope," said Miller.

Since his comments last Saturday, Beshear says the state has resolved about 105,000 March claims.

That leaves a remaining 24,840. 8,000 of those are waiting identity verification, and Beshear says emails have gone out to all those who need to fill out the appropriate documents.

But what about the rest? Beshear says these present a more difficult challenge. Those include ones that would have been here before the system was flooded, an employer might be challenging a claim, or someone may have checked a box that precludes them from getting benefits.

"In other words, if they marked that they quit. Now it may have been that things were shutting down, they had to do it because they were in a vulnerable population. Those are different boxes that people have to check, but you gotta get that fixed," said Beshear.

"I would just like to know something. Did I not cross my t's and dot my i's correctly? What's the problem?" said Ann Lowery.

Salon owner Ann Lowery has called the state unemployment office every single day, looking for guidance.

"The system is saying I'm being processed, and it's said that since March 20. And it's still saying that," said Lowery.

Meanwhile, state employees still have to process claims filed in April.

But Beshear says they'll continue to priotize the March claims, even as the calendar flips to May, and people like Ann Lowery and Brandi Miller continue to wait.