unemployment line Kentucky 6-17-20

Hundreds of people waited for hours to get help with unemployment insurance in Frankfort, Ky. on June 17, 2020.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- With nearly 1.3 million unemployment claims filed in Kentucky since the COVID-19 pandemic started, the commonwealth is already backlogged and will likely face thousands of new applicants as Gov. Andy Beshear's new restrictions take effect.

According to data from the Labor Cabinet, more than 75,000 Kentuckians are still waiting on help.

"We're still getting the calls that people are suffering, and it's just unacceptable," Sen. Danny Carroll (R-Paducah) told officials from the Labor Cabinet during a committee meeting Friday. "I cannot stress enough how desperate some people are getting. Especially with our restaurants closing down, there are people in our districts that are losing everything they have. When are you all going to get these claims done?"

Kentucky Labor Secretary Larry Roberts said the office has contacted everyone who filed claims back in March.

"Sometimes, those things, they are not providing it in a timely manner," Roberts said during the committee hearing.

The following numbers are unresolved claims in 2020 according to the Labor Cabinet:

  • March claims – 628
  • April claims – 10,821
  • May claims – 11,860
  • June claims – 13,211
  • July claims – 13,848
  • August claims – 13,181
  • September claims – 12,041

More than 25,000 claims have unclaimed payments or still require more documentation.

Kentucky Labor Cabinet spokesperson Kevin Kinnaird said the office cannot speculate on the number of potential claims from new measures but remains committed to helping people in need.

"Claims with no issues are being processed and paid according to the established timeline," Kinnaird said. "The claims with issues are the ones taking time to resolve as they have to be worked individually by a staffer."

"The performance is just unacceptable," Carroll said. "We're paying millions of dollars to a firm to take care of these things, and our people cannot feed their families in these situations. You all have got to come up with a better system to get these things addressed."

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