FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- Officials turned away a crowd of unemployed Kentuckians who gathered Wednesday morning at the Cabinet for Health and Family Services building in Frankfort, Kentucky. 

Members of the group, like others who have gathered in Frankfort over the past few weeks, were trying to get help with delayed unemployment benefits. However, unemployment officials told those gathered to add their names to a list and wait for a phone call.

Kentucky's Office of Unemployment Insurance has fielded more than 900,000 unemployment insurance claims since the COVID-19 pandemic began, according to a June 19 statement from a spokesman for the Kentucky Education & Workforce Development Cabinet. Officials previously said they were looking for a time and a location to do more in-person help. After demonstrators showed up at the Capitol last week, officials opened a pop-up help center. 

Wednesday morning's effort didn't have the same effect, however. 

"Because we saw all these people in the line the day before, we thought we'd come up here today," said Stella Henderson, one of the people who showed up Wednesday to receive assistance. "Not any lines, and they're just taking phone numbers and names and tell you somebody is gonna call you."

Gov. Andy Beshear on Monday said the state is bringing in an outside vendor to train more claim processors, answer questions and fix the backlogged system. As of Monday, Beshear said Kentucky still had 52,692 unprocessed unemployment claims from March, April and June, including 7,566 dating to March. 

The governor didn’t reveal the contractor or other details about when the help will come and at what cost, though he said: “I will pay whatever it takes to get this thing fixed.”

"Having outside help is going to speed that process up," Beshear said Monday, "and I am not willing to wait any longer for us to be able to do it internally."

Next week, an in-person office will be set up in Frankfort to help people with unemployment. In-person offices will also be set up in Ashland and Owensboro for people who can't drive all the way to Frankfort.

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