Kentucky Unemployment Benefits
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.
Eligibility To Apply for UI Benefits in 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 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://uiclaims.des.ky.gov/ebenefit/eben.htm 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.
UI Benefit Amount
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.
Use the calculator to find out how much weekly benefits you may approximately earn in the state of Kentucky.
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 Do I Get Paid?
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 which was available until June 15, 2021.
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.
How Much Money Will I Get?
The exact amount you receive will depend on how much money you made in your previous work, but the maximum amount receivable is generally $522. At the very least you will receive $39 for 26 weeks. You may have received unemployment for a longer period due to the pandemic.
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.
If you receive a notice to repay the excessive amount, you may pay the amount by logging in to https://kcc.ky.gov/career/Pages/Make-a-Payment.aspx. Or call 502-564-2387 to reach the Overpayments of Benefits department to come up with your repayment plans.
A fraud overpayment 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
If you have been found guilty of fraud, you will have to pay the excessive amount back. You will be ineligible to receive future UI benefits until the dues are clear. The KCC will also levy the following penalties if you are guilty of fraud:
- You will get disqualified from receiving UI benefits for up to 52 weeks
- A penalty of 15 percent must be paid on all overpayments
- You will be charged 1.5 percent of monthly interest on the principal amount
- A lien will be filed against you, and it will not be released until the whole debt is paid
- If you fail to repay the excessive amount, your state and federal income tax refunds will intercept as an offset towards your overpayment dues
- You may be prosecuted by the court of law
The state offers benefits extension 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 opportunities to improve their skill set for better employment opportunities.
Some of the training programs provided:
Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act WIOA: The WIOA is a federally funded training program that provides various services such as on-the-job training, apprenticeships, worker training, and individual training account.
Under WIOA, various training programs are offered to people with various needs, and therefore the eligibility criteria vary as per the nature of the respective training programs. Some programs are designed for individuals between 14-21 years old, while some are designed for people who are 21 years and above.
Various training providers in the state of Kentucky can be found in the listing published in https://kcc.ky.gov/training/Pages/Providers.aspx.
Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA): Those who have lost their jobs due to foreign trade or outsourcing are eligible for TAA. This program is designed to help individuals gain competence and get back to work.
To avail of this service, a petition must be written to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Division of Trade Adjustment Assistance to seek certification under ‘workers affected by foreign trade’. If the petition is certified, then workers must apply for TAA services through their local Kentucky Career Center office.
Federal Pell Grants: Individuals who have enrolled for a bachelor’s degree or a training program are eligible for the Federal Pell Grants financial aid. The process of applying for this financial aid is simple, and it is also accepted in nearly all community colleges and universities. Contact your local KCC to find out more about the procedure to apply.
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.