Kentucky abruptly ends extended unemployment benefits: What happened and what it means

As of Thanksgiving weekend, extended unemployment will end for thousands in the commonwealth, according to Kentucky Labor Cabinet.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Kentucky Labor Cabinet dropped big news late Tuesday and it added to the pain many unemployed Kentuckians are already feeling. 

The cabinet said that as of Thanksgiving weekend, extended unemployment will end for almost 5,000 in the commonwealth.

After the news was posted on WHAS11 News Facebook page, the article started trending. The comments ranged from finger-pointing at elected leaders to misinformation and questions from unemployed Kentuckians still waiting on payments. 

The announcement came in a press release. It stated that because the number of people collecting unemployment in Kentucky for the week ending Nov. 7 fell below the threshold of 5% of the labor force, the U.S. Department of Labor had to end the extended benefits.

That means the Commonwealth can not send out extended benefits for at least 13 weeks.

The governor is quoted in the release as saying the U.S. Department of Labor sets the rules, so Kentucky is required to follow them.

Wednesday, FOCUS team Reporter John Charlton got to work trying to find answers. He reached out via emails, made morning calls to the governor’s office and to the Kentucky Labor Cabinet.

Kimberly Turner who filed for unemployment in July said she has “not seen a single dollar” from the state.

Here’s what the news means for Turner. 

According to the Labor Cabinet, she and others who have not collected at all should still get what they’re owed.

Turner said she’s also “owed” an explanation.

“The frustrating feeling is that I don’t know why,” she said.

WHAS11 finally got an email response from the Labor Cabinet just before the close of business on Wednesday:

“Unemployment benefits usually last 26 weeks, but due to the pandemic, benefits were extended 13 weeks, and then another 13 weeks after that. However, the Labor Department’s move means those who have received at least 39-weeks of benefits, which is 4,723 claimants, will not have their benefits extended anymore starting Saturday.”

Kentuckians who are impacted can go to Focus Career to create or upload a resume and to view available jobs in their area. For other information click on Kentucky Career Centers.

Contact reporter John Charlton Follow him onTwitter (@JCharltonNews) andFacebook.

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