Kentucky lawmakers discuss updating unemployment insurance

Published: Oct. 28, 2021 at 4:29 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WYMT) - Kentucky lawmakers received another update on the status of unemployment insurance Thursday morning.

Labor Cabinet officials said they are still working through thousands of backlogged claims, but the process to acquire and install a new system is ongoing.

One of the biggest problems facing the state during the pandemic was the tens of thousands of unemployment claims that overwhelmed a computer system that was put into use in the late 1970s.

The system is so old, officials say, when it needs service, they have to bring in retired people to work on it.

Lawmakers wanted monthly meetings in the wake of the numerous problems with unemployment insurance dating back to March 2020, when the pandemic put tens of thousands out of work.

The solution is a new computer system that will cost more than $47 million and take almost two years to install.

Republican lawmakers have made it a point to grill unemployment officials over several issues and, Thursday, one lawmaker wanted to know more about the consequences of full time state workers accused of gaming the system in order to get some part time benefits.

The Labor Cabinet Counsel and Inspector General did say some of those were disciplined, but they don’t have the power in that cabinet to prosecute them.

While it will take up to two years to install the the new UI system, officials say they will continue to modify and enhance the current system until the new one is completely online.

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