NewsCovering Kentucky


'We need help, badly': Unemployed Kentuckians rally together in Frankfort

Posted at 3:30 PM, Feb 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-23 18:07:21-05

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Phillip Kirby has been waiting for nine months.

“Not one dime,” he said when asked how much he’s received in unemployment insurance since losing his job due to the pandemic.

No matter who’s to blame, the Kentucky Unemployment Insurance Office has been a major disappointment to the people of the commonwealth who’ve needed it most, when they’ve needed it most.

“They keep saying, ‘we’re fixing it,’ but I’m not seeing it,” said Emily Decker who filed for unemployment insurance benefits during the summer.

Emily is fortunate as her husband’s job has been able to keep them afloat. Mr. Kirby is relying on help from family, while Misty Gaitin of Lexington has some savings and stimulus money left over. But that fund is dwindling.

“The bills are coming in,” Gaitin said. “Most creditors don’t care. They want their money.”

That’s all these people want as well; the unemployment insurance money they put into the system when they were collecting a paycheck. So in an attempt to make their voices heard, they came to the capitol building for a demonstration that had been twice-postponed due to the weather. Some plan to be here for 24 hours.

“I’ll be here until the last person leaves, tomorrow,” Gaitin said.

A similar protest apparently worked the last time the group organized in Frankfort.

“Not very many people came out, but we all got our stuff fixed. I think pretty much everybody that came got their things fixed that day,” Decker said of their last demonstration at the capitol.

Kirby was outside on this sun-splashed Tuesday holding a sign that read: “SOS,” which is a morse codesign of distress.

“Please help. Because we need help, badly,” he pleaded.