Chamber member and friend,
These are our notes to help you based on our participation in the Thursday, March 26, 2020 call with Josh Benton, Deputy Secretary of Education and Workforce Development. This webinar provided information for employers about new unemployment guidelines and processes as a result of COVID-19. Once we receive the recording, we will be sure to share.
Who can apply?
Unemployment insurance (UI) benefits provide temporary financial assistance to workers unemployed through no fault of their own that meet Kentucky's eligibility requirements. Government has loosened restrictions around UI so individuals can receive compensation more quickly.
Unemployment eligibility has been expanded to include gig workers not previously covered by UI. These include independent contractors, small business owners, substitute teachers, cosmetologists, freelance workers, childcare workers employed by religious organizations and non-profits, and others. If an individual has to leave their job or chooses to leave due to a reasonable risk of exposure (self-quarantine) or are because they are caring for a family member affected by COVID-19, they can also apply.
The state is processing everyone on the applications as available and able to go to work, therefore they are waiving the work-search requirements. If someone has already applied and received a message as “ineligible,” they are processing what was submitted last week based on the Governor’s message Wednesday evening.
If someone is unsure if they should file or not, they are encouraged to go ahead and file.
Employers with more than 50 employees, who are laying off more than 15, can file on behalf of their employees by going to
or by calling 502-564-2369. From those contacts you can file mass/multiple claims at once, as opposed to having employees go on the website and apply individually. It is hopeful that this eases the burden on the state’s UI system. Click
for more information.
You can also email
with questions about what compensation scenarios are best for your company. While you are laying off individuals, the state is treating this as temporary in hopes employers hire them back. Therefore, employers can continue to provide benefits and gap compensation to assist employees during this time. He assured that rates for employer’s paying into UI should be protected through this situation.
As employers are reducing hours for employees, employees are seeing a decrease in their wages. UI can provide for the gap in income. Email:
and someone will reach out and make connections for you.
How to apply
File on the date assigned by the first letter of your last name. To file a claim and view the complete filing schedule, click
Employees will be responsible for filing for their own UI if the company isn’t laying off more than 15 people. Individual employees completing the form will list their former employer(s) information on the application, and then the state will contact those employers listed for verification of that information. The company’s responsibility would be to verify quickly once contacted to complete the process for their employees.
When will I get a check?
The first payment will arrive in 13 to 16 days after your initial filing. The payment will include two weeks of pay, rather than one, after the Governor waived the state’s seven-day waiting period to receive UI benefits. Payments will come in two week increments after that. The average weekly benefit is $350. The maximum benefit is $552/week. For those who wages are partial commissions, they base eligibility on total taxable income.
Currently the maximum time to draw unemployment is 26 weeks. The government stimulus bill could offer an extension, especially for workers who were on unemployment prior to the Coronavirus pandemic. The federal bill could also give additional weekly benefits on top of the state UI payment. He believes there will be a commitment from Congress to provide additional weekly benefits.
Education & Workforce Cabinet Changes
UI was not created for this scenario, so they are having to make some adjustments. It is something the country has never experienced before. The Cabinet is continuing to add employees with 70 more individuals added to the call center and 150 added to process claims. You can also contact our local Kentucky Career Center as they are fielding calls. The closest center to Murray is the Paducah Career Center whose number is 270-575-7000.
For more information or specific questions please call the UI Help Line at 502-564-2900.
This information will be available on the Chamber’s website at