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Kentuckians without unemployment funds struggle to make ends meet

Published: Sep. 25, 2020 at 9:41 PM EDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Tuesday, September 22nd, Governor Andy Beshear announced FEMA approved Kentucky for another three weeks of additional unemployment benefits.

Beshear reports most people should have those payments in their possession by now. However, there are Kentuckians who have fallen through the cracks.

“I had first applied back in February and was put on PUA and didn’t receive anything," says Hannah McCarty of Somerset, Kentucky.

Hannah was switched from Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) to Unemployment insurance (UI) and says her account locked up and has not been resolved to date.

“They will tell you give it a week, give it two weeks, and then you never hear anything again,” Hannah explains.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance is for workers not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits. It includes those unable to work as a result of COVID-19 or taking care of a family member with COVID, among others.

Another Kentuckian, James Lewis, says he has been told he is not eligible but cannot obtain answers as to why.

“In that CARES act, it says they have what’s called a secretary standard. It says their supposed to be prompt and communicate with you and let you know what’s going on if you’re eligible, but I haven’t gotten any communication," James tells 13 News.

Single father struggles without unemployment
Single father struggles without unemployment(None)

A single dad, he has struggled to provide for his family without unemployment benefits. It is a situation that single mom Joanie Sleeth from Burkesville, Kentucky can relate with.

“Right now, I talked to my landlord like yesterday and if I don’t have something like in the next week, I have to move with my two kids," Joanie explains emotionally.

Joanie was receiving benefits and tried to go back to work before getting sick. After filing again, her claim has been under investigation since July.

Governor Beshear says they have made significant progress on those who are still waiting.

“There are still so many claims filed per day. We’re always still fighting to make sure we can catch up," said Beshear in his press briefing Tuesday.

You can visit Kentucky’s unemployment insurance claims system here.

Copyright 2020 WBKO. All rights reserved.

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