Behind on bills, Lexington father continues to seek unemployment claim response

Highley family.jpg
Posted at 5:03 PM, Feb 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-01 20:55:11-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Here at LEX 18, we continue to receive hundreds, if not thousands, of emails from unemployed Kentuckians who are seeking any response from Frankfort.

One of those looking for their unemployment insurance payments is Justin Highley out of Lexington.

When the pandemic hit Kentucky and dining rooms shut down, he says the restaurant he managed reduced from nearly 40 employees to three overnight.

"It was certainly the hardest time I've ever worked in a restaurant," said Highley.

Five months later, Highley was laid off and joined the unemployment line. On September 3, he filed a claim.

"The account immediately went to 'under investigation' and that's kind of where it's stood since then," said Highley.

His account shows thousands of dollars unpaid, leaving the family with tough choices.

"Do we buy food or do we wait and pay the electric bill and keep it two months behind?" asked Highley.

Unfortunately, the rent is behind too. Despite a bit of relief from the state's Healthy at Home fund, he still owes two and half months of rent to his landlord.

"We just found out about the eviction three days ago," said Highley.

Toys and cooking supplies are being boxed up as the Highleys try to figure out what's next.

"So for us to be able to move out of here on Wednesday, it would basically mean we have to go to eastern Kentucky, back to St. Louis, and just change everything," said Highley.

Highley says he's desperate. That's why he reached out to LEX 18 for help, so that he can talk with a person instead of a hearing a message that cuts off after 15 seconds.

But he also wanted to share his story to try and help others.

"Hopefully someone's gonna watch this that has a similar situation to mine and they're going to understand that during all of this they're not alone. They're not the only person that's going through this," said Highley.