Ky. Labor Cabinet says no plans for in-person unemployment events as rates rise in eastern parts

The map from the Kentucky Center for Statistics shows unemployment rates by county.
The map from the Kentucky Center for Statistics shows unemployment rates by county.(wsaz)
Published: Sep. 28, 2020 at 9:40 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WSAZ) - Despite unemployment rates the highest in eastern Kentucky, and many telling WSAZ they have waited months for their benefits, the Kentucky Labor Cabinet says there are no immediate plans to hold pop-up events across the state.

On Thursday, the Kentucky Center for Statistics released August unemployment data. The eastern Kentucky counties in our viewing area were all above the state’s average of 7.5 percent, and all but Rowan County were above the national average of 8.5 percent.

WSAZ reached out to the Labor Cabinet asking for data which was sent four days later. One of our requests was for the average wait time for people who apply.

Officials responded saying, “The average wait is 15 days, if the claim is filled out and submitted correctly. You can visit for a better break down of the unemployment insurance process.”

Since the pandemic began, about 1,194,000 Kentuckians have applied for unemployment. When asked how many claims have been processed, the Cabinet said “No one in state government will be satisfied until all Kentuckians have received the unemployment benefits for which they qualify.”

WSAZ asked about the possibility of in-person events happening again in our region like what was held in Ashland and Prestonsburg over the summer.

“We are committed to doing regional in-person services as our staffing and COVID allows. After conducting other in-person services in different areas of the state, we’ve determined that the most productive place for OUI staffers to be is in their offices, where they can serve a higher volume of constituents than in the field. In-person services are still being provided in Frankfort by appointment only, where OUI staff can balance the needs of in-person meetings while still working multiple claims on the online system. The Labor Cabinet’s goal is to reopen in-person UI offices in the state. However, at this time, there is no definitive date for reopening.”

Some people have told WSAZ they couldn’t get an in-person event until November. For many in our region, that would also be around a two hour drive to get to Frankfort for those appointments.

WSAZ requested an interview with the Cabinet, but those requests were not answered. We have also submitted questions about the matter for Gov. Andy Beshear’s daily briefing and those have not been answered.

Copyright 2020 WSAZ. All rights reserved.

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