NewsCovering Kentucky


Hundreds wait in line for hours for unemployment help

Posted at 3:21 PM, Jun 17, 2020

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — For the second straight day, hundreds lined up on State Capitol grounds hoping to get unemployment help.

Many are frustrated after going months without any income or update on their UI claims.

Some lined up outside the Capitol Annex building before 8:00am Tuesday, waiting nearly 5 hours just to see someone from the state.

“What about the people that have had their issues resolved? When are you going to help us? We’re your people, we put you in the position that you’re in and you need to hear our voices,” said Kayla Williams.

Williams is one of many who are calling on state leaders to take action to address the unemployment system problem.

Williams is a single mom who drove two hours to get to Frankfort, then waited in line for nearly five hours just to talk with someone.

She says this is her last hope.

“I have roughly about $200 to my name. I have maxed out credit cards, I’ve taken out personal loans, I have relied on friends and family. Thankfully I had tax refund that I could pay my rent up that it’s run out. It only goes so far. It’s to the point of what do you pay, do you pay your rent, your water, your electric, or do you put groceries on the table for two children”, said Williams.

This is the second day the state set up this in-person help center after a protest was planned to take place at the Capitol on Tuesday.

Williams and others say it’s a step in the right direction, and many are getting results.

“I mean it was a lot. I almost had tears in my eyes I was like I’m actually going to have money to pay my bills and put food on the table. It was a huge relief for sure,” Alexis King-Smith.

King-Smith was laid off from her job as a manager at the Starbucks on UK’s campus back in late March.

She was thrilled to finally get her claim resolved. She said the status already updated on her account online and it says money should be deposited on Wednesday.

Many waiting in line cheered as others came out and shared that their claim had been resolved.

Some people in line tell LEX 18 they have returned to work as the state has been reopening over the last month, but bills are still piling up because if they were given a 30 or 60 day grace period on rent or utilities, they now owe all of that money at the end of June or early July. Without back pay from the state, they say they won’t be able to get by.

There will be more in-person unemployment services on Thursday and Friday from 9 am to 6 pm at the Cabinet for Health and Family Services in Frankfort. On Thursday, it will be open to everyone but there will be a priority line for anyone who filed in March and hasn't had their claim resolved. On Friday, it will be open to everyone but there will be a priority line for anyone who filed in March or April and hasn't had their claim resolved.