unemployment line august 2020 louisville

Kentuckians lined up for unemployment insurance assistance at the UAW Local 862 union hall on Fern Valley Road in August 2020.

Note: This story has been updated to reflect information provided by Kentucky Labor Cabinet after initial publication on Wednesday afternoon.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – More than two weeks after Kentucky began paying unemployment recipients an extra $400 per week using FEMA money redirected by President Trump, several unemployment recipients have told WDRB they’re still waiting on the extra funds.

“I’m frustrated because they don’t tell you anything,” said Patrick Edwards, 72, a retired accountant who has been receiving jobless benefits since March. Before the pandemic, Edwards said he had been working as a driver for a car rental company.

After this story was published Wednesday afternoon, the Kentucky Labor Cabinet said payments for the FEMA supplement, called Lost Wages Assistance, "have been sent to Kentuckians who were currently eligible" for the first four weeks of the six-week program.

The state said about 114,000 Kentuckians received the extra $400 for the program's first week (the week ended Aug. 1) and about 108,000 for the following three weeks (through the week ended Aug. 22).

The labor cabinet said last month that about 110,000 would be eligible for the Lost Wages Assistance payments. Cabinet officials did not immediately respond Thursday morning when asked how many eligible claimants have not received the funds.

The program covers the weeks immediately following the expiration of the universal $600 weekly supplement that was part of the coronavirus relief bill Congress passed in March. Those are from the week ended Aug. 1 through the week ended Sept. 5.

Kentucky is doling out the $400 supplements in weekly installments over a six-week period.

By contrast, Indiana paid all six weeks of the program – which was worth $300 per week for Hoosiers – in lump sum deposits that went out the week of Sept. 21.

Hoosiers received the extra money with “no issues,” said Scott Olson, a spokesman for the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. “All payments went out last week.”

One hiccup for Kentuckians is that, before the $400 weekly supplements can be paid, they must complete a certification attesting to the fact their job loss was “due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.” The certification is completed by logging into the claimant’s account on the state system.

But Edwards said he took that step and hasn’t received “a dime” of the extra money.

“I got a little message saying that they'd be paying in a couple days. Well, that was a few weeks ago,” he said.

The labor cabinet said Wednesday, "Those whom had not already provided the self-certification have now been given the opportunity to self-certify when first logging into their online account."

Another catch is that the extra money from the Trump program is only available to people who already qualify for at least $100 per week in unemployment benefits, so it excludes some jobless recipients who had low wages or spotty work histories. In Kentucky, unemployment pays as little as $39 per week.

Kentucky became one of the few states to provide the full $400 per week available under the Trump program by supplementing the $300 per week available to all states from FEMA with $100 per week from the state’s share of CARES Act funds.

Reach reporter Chris Otts at 502-585-0822, cotts@wdrb.com, on Twitter or on Facebook. Copyright 2020 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.