Governor Hires More Workers To Handle Unemployment Claims

FRANKFORT, Ky. — More than 161,000 Kentuckians have filed for new unemployment benefits since the middle of March when efforts to flatten the curve started.

But there have been numerous problems, like long hold times or the system, crashing.

Some people even received denial letters even though they qualify for unemployment under the new rules implemented because of the coronavirus.

“I understand every single complaint,” Gov. Andy Beshear said. “These are people trying to provide for themselves and for their families that shouldn’t have to wait, but we’re working on an antiquated system where the answer used to be no and now it has to be yes.”

Beshear and his staff have implemented measures to make the unemployment application process as soon as possible, like having specific days you can apply for benefits based on your last name. 

Kentucky also revamped the application website, kcc.ky.gov, to handle more traffic. 

Now the commonwealth is hiring up to 1,200 people for their call centers to help with claims, up from just 12 people three weeks ago.

Education and Workforce Development Cabinet deputy secretary Josh Benton said as the pandemic continues, the unemployment office will continue to adjust.

“If we need more, we’ll add more. That is our priority is to fix this,” Benton said. “We know it’s the thing that is taking the longest and we wish it wasn’t.”

And Beshear said he encourages complaints from people if the system doesn’t work, but he’s also asking for patience as Kentucky works out the kinks. 

“The buck stops with me,” Beshear said. “I don’t believe in excuses, even in a worldwide pandemic that we’ve never seen before. Our job, my job, is to provide for my people, for everybody out there that needs it, and we will continue to work until we get that done.”