Unemployment claims soar, some Kentuckians having a hard time receiving benefits

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Many Kentuckians are still trying to get paid for unemployment as thousands more file for benefits.

KY Capital Building. Photo Credit: Phil Pendleton

The latest jobless claims show more than 47,000 additional claims were filed for the week ending May 16th.

Kentucky’s unemployment rate is a whopping 15.4 percent, according to the numbers from the month of April. That’s compared to the United States rate of 14.7 percent. And if you look back a year ago, it was only 4.3 percent.

State officials say Kentucky's Civilian Labor Workforce was reduced by more than 200,000 people from March to April of this year.

Andrea Bahbah lost her job in April due to COVID-19 and is still waiting on her unemployment funds.

Bahbah worked as a medical technician, and since medical procedures were canceled to prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed, she hasn't worked in quite some time.

“Yeah, they cut my hours. And I haven’t worked in a month over a month, month and a half,” said Bahbah.

Now, she is overwhelmed trying to get unemployment benefits.

“Yes, been on hold for hours. Then it will hang up. Never been able to get through," Bahbah said.

She’s not alone. Nearly 800,000 Kentuckians have entered the unemployment rolls since March.

Bahbah said she is okay for now but is worried about the near future, “fortunately I have enough money saved up for now. But that is slowly running out.”

What makes her situation even worse is that she is expecting a baby and there is no indication she will be going back to work any time soon.

“I might not even be able to come back to work. I don’t know after my maternity leave or anything like that. It’s up in the air right now,” said Bahbah.

Bahbah said she is sad because she loved her job as a med tech and now her future seems very uncertain.