Some Kentuckians still waiting for unemployment benefits as Beshear proposes update to system

Governor Andy Beshear wants to use $47.5 million dollars to update the Commonwealth’s unemployment insurance network.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — It may be a new year, but some Kentuckians still haven’t received their unemployment benefits after applying last year.

Christi Bryson is all too familiar with the state’s unemployment issues. Last year was very dark for Bryson. She lost her job in March and her fiancée passed away in May. Bryson said she had to “go lean” on his funeral, spending under $1,000.

Her nest egg of $30,000 was gone by October and she is now borrowing money from friends.

“I’ve been selling things. I’ve been selling my fiancée’s things. He had some guitars,” Bryson said.

Bryson said she filed for unemployment in April, but her benefits have been a no show except for two weeks in August. Though the state determined she qualified, there has been no back pay or pay since.

“It doesn’t make sense that they’ve got me on their system, and they were able to pay me for two weeks and then all of the sudden nothing. Nothing had changed,” Bryson said.

But the state’s unemployment system may be in line for a reboot. Governor Andy Beshear wants to use $47.5 million dollars to update the Commonwealth’s unemployment insurance network.

“We are also saddled with a very old and archaic computer system that dates back literally to the 1970’s,” Amy Cubbage, Labor Cabinet General Counsel, said.

Also, using $48 million in CARES Act money, the governor has authorized a one-time payment of $1,000 to qualified filers who have been waiting for unemployment help since March through the end of October. However, the payments won’t go to someone who got paid and then stopped getting paid.

‘We had to make a priority and that priority for us is those that have been waiting for a couple of months and haven’t received the first dollar,” Governor Beshear said during his State of the Commonwealth and Budget Address Thursday.

Christi Bryson got paid just once over ten months. She calls it a “disaster” and worries her wait will get longer if the governor doesn’t resign Ernst & Young (EY). That state contract with the global accounting firm ended this week.

“I think he should extend that contract until it’s all caught up,” Bryson said.

The governor said the state is still considering a contract with EY.

To find out how to make an unemployment insurance appointment by phone, visit the Kentucky Career Center’s online.

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