"Unemployment issues?" sign Kentucky

(WDRB file photo)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky has begun paying the unemployment benefits authorized by the $900 billion pandemic relief bill that President Trump signed on Dec. 27, including the new $300 weekly supplement, Gov. Andy Beshear's Labor Cabinet said Tuesday.

The state also released long-awaited guidance as to how Kentuckians can claim the new or extended benefits.

Indiana took both steps about a week earlier. Beshear said last week that Kentucky's antiquated computer system, which he proposes replacing as part of the next state budget, adds delay in administering new unemployment programs.

Below are Kentucky's instructions for unemployment claimants, as copied verbatim from the Labor Cabinet. The cabinet's FAQ document is also available at the bottom of this page.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) covers individuals who lost income due to COVID-19 who were not eligible for traditional unemployment insurance or had exhausted other Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits, including self-employed workers, gig workers, and independent contractors. The program has been extended for 11 additional weeks through the Continuing Assistance Act. The first eligible payments began starting with the benefit week ending January 2, and payments began processing January 10, 2021.

INSTRUCTIONS for Claimants: Claimants must file a new claim. The last day to file for a new PUA claim is March 13, 2021 and they can continue requesting benefits until April 10, 2021.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)

The CARES Act established the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program to allow claimants who exhausted their unemployment compensation benefits to receive up to 13 additional weeks of benefits. The Continued Assistance Act is providing an additional 11 weeks of payments to those who are eligible until March 13, 2021. Payments under this program began to issue on January 10, 2021.

INSTRUCTIONS for claimants: Claimants that had a zero balance in their account prior to 12/26/2020, will need to file a new claim in order to receive the additional 11 weeks of benefits. If a claimant has a benefit balance in their account the additional 11 weeks will be payable beginning with the benefit week ending January 2, 2021. They would continue claiming benefits as usual.

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)

The Cares Act established Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), this program added an additional $600.00 weekly benefit amount to qualified individuals through week ending 07/25/2020. The new law provides a weekly benefit of $300 per week for those who qualify from week ending 1/2/2021 through 03/13/2021. To receive FPUC, a claimant must receive unemployment benefits from a benefit program such as regular UI, PUA, or PEUC. This payment will come separately after their weekly benefit amount has been issued. Payments authorized under the Continued Assistance Act will begin to issue January 19, 2021.

INSTRUCTIONS for claimants. No action is needed by the claimant to receive the $300 additional benefits. It will arrive after the weekly benefit amount has been paid.

One-time Relief Payment Program

On Jan. 12, Gov. Beshear signed an executive order creating the Unemployment One-Time Relief Payment Program to be administered by the Office of Unemployment Insurance (OUI) and funded by Coronavirus Relief Fund money for up to $48 million. As of January 19, all one time payments will have been processed.

The program authorized one-time, supplemental payments:

  • $400 to claimants under any OUI program who: (a) would otherwise have qualified for 2020 FEMA Lost Wages Assistance but their weekly benefit amount was below $100, and (b) who had an approved claim in November and December 2020 but a weekly benefit amount of less than $176. Approximately 25,000 Kentuckians are eligible for this payment; and
  • $1,000 to claimants under any OUI program between March 4 and Oct. 31, 2020, with verified identities and no indication of fraud, but whose claims were not yet adjudicated and paid. Approximately 16,500 Kentuckians are eligible for this payment.

OUI is continuing to work through the guidance as it is issued from the U.S. Department of Labor (U.S. DOL) and will implement the Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) and Extended Benefits (EB) in phases as quickly as possible. The MEUC program provides an additional $100 per week in supplemental compensation to individuals receiving certain unemployment benefits who received at least $5,000 of net self-employment income in the most recent taxable year.

Another UI program being programmed is Extended Benefits (EB). This program is for eligible claimants who must exhaust both their regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). By law, EB triggers when the three-month average unemployment rate in a state is above 6.5%. The updated Continued Assistance Act allows states to ask for approval from DOL to initiate this program without using the unemployment rate as a trigger. The Extended Benefits program does not have a specific timeline for implementation as we are still waiting on approval from the U.S. DOL.


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