The Unemployment Insurance (UI) in Kentucky is issued to those who have lost their jobs for no cause or no fault of the employee. The unemployment insurance helps such individuals by providing them financial assistance until they find another career opportunity.
This page will discuss how to file for unemployment benefits in Kentucky, eligibility criteria, and other factors you will need to know about Unemployment Insurance in Kentucky.
UI Benefit Amount in Kentucky
The Unemployment Insurance Benefits Calculator will assist you in figuring out the approximate UI Benefits amount that you may receive in the state of Kentucky.
To receive Kentucky unemployment benefits, you should meet three eligibility criteria- monetary benefits, job separation, and maintaining eligibility throughout the benefit period.
You must have sufficient wages in the base period. As per Kentucky’s laws, the first four of the five completed quarters are identified as the base period.
You must have worked for more than one year to be eligible for Unemployment Insurance and must have earned a minimum of $1500 during the base period to earn the monetary qualification.
The total wages earned during the base period will also influence how much maximum benefit amount and weekly benefit amount you may receive. The minimum weekly benefits claimants will receive in Kentucky is $39, and the maximum amount one may earn is $552.
The claimants are also mandated to serve the Waiting Week if they become eligible for Unemployment Insurance. The waiting week is the first benefit week, for which the claimants will request weekly benefits. You, however, will not receive a benefit amount during the waiting week.
You must prove to the Kentucky Career Center (KCC) that you did not lose your previous job due to your fault. The following are some of the reasons that will result in denial of qualification for UI benefits if:
You were fired from your previous employment due to misconduct
You resigned from your previous job due to a lack of interest in work
You quit the job from your previous organization with no attributable cause attached
You were involved in any illegal or illegitimate activities in your previous organizations
You were fired from your previous organization due to a prolonged medical illness that will affect your prospects of employment in the future as well
The reason you provide to the department for your job separation will be verified by the concerned officials. The department will also consult your previous employers to verify if the reason for the job separation given by you is supported by your previous employer.
You will gain eligibility for UI benefits once you establish your monetary eligibility and your eligibility for job-separation criteria. You must, however, follow all the rules and regulations to remain eligible for UI benefits throughout the benefit period.
To maintain the eligibility for unemployment benefits in Kentucky, you must meet the following expectations:
You must be able to work throughout the benefit period. You must not be facing any medical challenges to work during the benefit period
You must be available to work at all times. You must not be on a break or vacation when you apply for benefits
You must be looking actively for employment opportunities throughout the benefit period
You must not reject any job opportunities offered to you at any point during the benefit period
You must explain in detail your work search efforts while completing your online eligibility review
You must have contacted a minimum of three prospective employers each week
How To Get Kentucky Unemployment Benefits in 5 Steps
1. Complete Your Initial Application
To apply for Kentucky unemployment benefits, you will need your Social Security Number, date of birth, and personal contact information. You will also need to provide information about your employers in the last 18 months, such as company name, mailing address, phone number, start date and end date, and the reason for termination of each employer (not just your most recent one).
If you worked in other states or for the government or military, you may need to provide other information. If you’re ready with this information, apply on the Kentucky Electronic Workplace for Employment Services (KEWES) website, or by calling 502-875-0442.
How To Apply For UI Benefits in Kentucky?
You can apply for UI benefits in Kentucky through the online portal or by placing a phone call to KCC. Before applying for benefits, you must make sure that you hold the following documents:
To apply for benefits, you may opt for one of the following options:
The preferred mode to apply for benefits in Kentucky is by the online portal. You may log in to https://uiclaimsportal.ky.gov and apply on the Internet Claims System from Monday to Friday- 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM, and on Sunday- 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM Eastern Time.
You can also make use of the following services using the online portal:
File unemployment claim
Request bi-weekly continued unemployment claim (benefit payment)
Complete your eligibility review
Reset your PIN
Change payment method
Change mailing address
Change email address
If you are unable to submit your application online, you may reach the KCC call center by placing a call. Reach the KCC call center on 502-875-0442. If in the event you are unable to complete your bi-weekly continued unemployment claim, reach out to KCC Voice Response Unit on 877-369-5984 for assistance.
Note – If you face any trouble while applying for benefits or have any queries, you can visit the Kentucky unemployment office or call customer service for assistance.
The Kentucky Office of Unemployment Insurance will review the information you provided and determine if you have a valid unemployment claim. They will also use the employment and wage information you provided at the time of your initial benefits application to determine your weekly benefit amount, which will be a minimum of $39 per week and a maximum of $626.
The unemployment office will need to see the entire scope of your employee history during the last 18 months as a claimant for unemployment insurance benefits, so do not pick and choose which workplaces you put down—otherwise in the unemployment insurance system, this may be considered among fraudulent claims. Before issuing Kentucky unemployment benefits, those looking into unemployment claims may contact previous employers to verify your claim, even if one of those previous employers was in a different part of the United States.
3. Receive Your Letter
You will receive a Monetary Determination in the mail, which will tell you your weekly benefit amount (WBA). Or, if it is determined you do not have a valid claim, the Monetary Determination will tell you that you do not fall into the category of claimants who have Kentucky unemployment eligibility.
Remember that in order to keep collecting jobless benefits, you will have to maintain some additional ongoing eligibility requirements, one of which is a work search requirement. This job search must include making at least one contact per week with a potential employer. A former worker looking to retain their jobless benefits by meeting this requirement may find help at their local Kentucky Career Center.
4. Start Requesting Benefit Payments
You will need to initiate your bi-weekly benefits request 13 days after your initial claim, and every two weeks after that. Note however, that if your employer filed a claim on your behalf (which are called E-claims) you should request your benefits weekly. Benefits may be requested Sunday through Friday.
The system is available from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM on weekdays and from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM on Sundays. If you are exempt from work search requirements, you do have the option of calling 1-877-3MY-KYUI or 1-877-369-5984 to file your weekly claim.
5. Receive Your Benefit Payments
There are two ways the Kentucky Office of Unemployment Insurance (KOUI) issues your unemployment benefit payments: direct deposit and debit card. Note, however, that no matter which option you select, your very first unemployment benefit payment will be issued in paper check form. You can always change the method used to issue payments by logging on to the portal where you file claims. However, the default method is via debit card.
If you want to set up the direct deposit, you will need to input information like your bank account number and routing number. You do not need to provide a driver’s license number as you do in some states, which makes the direct deposit option more accessible for Kentucky residents.
Direct deposit is free, secure, and timely. Please note that UI customer service can help you set the direct deposit up over the phone and answer questions about troubleshooting it, but they cannot see your account and routing number for security reasons.
The other option is to receive payments on a UI debit card, which is the ReliaCard issued by U.S. Bank (this card is used in several states). This method replaces the paper check option.
The ReliaCard is not a credit card, but it is a debit card that can be used to make payments anywhere a VISA would be accepted, along with taking out cash from an ATM or through a bank teller. You need to file a claim for unemployment benefits on a bi-weekly basis to get paid, whether you’re getting direct deposit or using a ReliaCard.
The KOUI cannot guarantee back pay for weeks that you’ve missed, although there is the possibility of obtaining said funds by calling 502-564-2900 or emailing [email protected]. Your best bet for collecting weekly benefits is to make sure you are filing your bi-weekly claims on time in the portal.
You can expect that payments are made 2-3 days after filing your request for benefits. You can always request a change in the payment method when you file your benefit claim.
Things To Know After Filing An Application
You are obligated to be informed about various rules and regulations applied to the UI benefits program. Claimants will have to face the consequences of non-adherence with any rules brought to the notice of KCC.
You should also know about all the opportunities provided by the KCC to help claimants so that they become more competent in the job market.
How Much Money Will I Get?
This is the question that claimants want to know the answer to…and they should check the answer first with the Kentucky Unemployment Calculator before they get their Monetary Determination letter.
In Kentucky, the base period used to calculate your unemployment are the first four complete calendar quarters out of the last five complete quarters before you filed your initial claim. Your weekly benefit amount will be 1.1923% of your total base period wages. Keep in mind that you must have earned at least $1,500 in at least one of the four quarters, that the three quarters outside the highest earning must also total $1,500, and that the grand total of all four quarters must be at least 1.5 times that of your highest earning quarter.
Overpayments and Fraud
The issue of overpayments is taken very seriously in Kentucky by taking serious actions to collect overpaid funds.
There are ways and means in which you may receive an overpayment without your knowledge. You are mandated to pay back the excessive amount received to the department as soon as they receive a letter from the KCC informing them about the overpayment.
Some of the common reasons resulting in the occurrence of non-fraud overpayments are:
Overturning of appeals by the court judgments concerning UI benefit amount. You would be mandated to repay the excessive amount received if the court decides against your appeal
You have given any wrong information or the omitted crucial information because of an oversight
You must repay if any excess amount is received but may not be subjected to the penalties for non-fraud overpayments.
Kentucky unemployment fraud occurs when you intentionally deceive the KCC by either withholding or forging crucial information to get the UI benefits. The state considers overpayment fraud as an offense, and it may lead to the prosecution of the claimant in court.
Some of the common examples of fraud overpayments are:
Claimant fails to report weekly earnings
Claimant fails to report earnings from part-time employment
Claimant fails to report any income or expected income such as holiday pay, bonuses, severance pay, tips, commissions, military retirement pay, etc
Claimant forges the weekly work search reports
Claimant withholds, forges, or willfully misinforms information about the wages earned during the base period
The state offers extended unemployment benefits if there is an economic downturn or the unemployment rate is too high. Visit KCC to know more about benefits extension in Kentucky.
Job Training Assistance
The state of Kentucky provides ample job training opportunities to improve their skill set for better employment opportunities.
Yes, you do have to pay taxes on unemployment benefits. However, you can elect to have the taxes taken out at the time benefits are issued, or pay them later when you file your taxes. If you choose to have taxes withheld, Kentucky will take 4% while the Federal Government will take 10%. Note that this may reduce the size of your WBA.
Although circumstances will vary from person to person, there is a decent chance that if you collect unemployment benefits the full 26 weeks they’re available, or even for a significant portion thereof, your total income for the year might be such that you will get a tax refund anyway. That said, you might consider opting to pay the taxes later, instead of having them taken from your weekly benefit amount, which will only reduce it anyway.
If Your Claim Is Denied
If your claim for an unemployment insurance benefit is denied, or you disagree with the stated amount of unemployment compensation, you can file a Kentucky unemployment appeal within 30 days. A referee who specializes in reviewing appeals for UI benefits will contact you for a telehearing. You must submit all evidence for the hearing beforehand, and copies to any other parties who will attend, such as a former employer.
The decision of the referee will be communicated in writing, but if you still disagree, you may contact the UI Commission to review the evidence a second time, by notifying them within 30 days of the referee’s mailed decision. If you still disagree, it is time to take it to the District Court of the county in which you worked before filing for unemployment insurance benefits.
More Kentucky Benefits
If the nature of your unemployment is long-term due to injury or illness, you may be eligible for Kentucky disability benefits. These SSDI payments (Social Security Disability Payments) require recipients to apply and have their disability vetted by the DDS (Department of Disability Services) to determine that it does indeed prevent gainful employment.
The application process for SSDI has long wait times and many claims require appeals, so it is often a good idea to solicit legal help for your claim. A disability lawyer cannot charge more than 25% of your disability back pay or $6,000 (whichever amount is lower), so hiring legal counsel may well be worth it.
There is also Kentucky Medicaid for low-income individuals and those who are pregnant, disabled, or taking care of dependents. Whether or not your household can fall into the low-income category is determined by a table of gross wages before taxes. For example, a family of 5 can make no more than $41,284 per year. Thanks to the ACA Medicaid Expansion in Kentucky, low-income people without disabilities, dependents, or a pregnancy might also qualify for Medicaid.