Kentucky Unemployment Benefit Questions

Kentucky Unemployment Benefit Questions

How long and how much money can a person draw Kentucky unemployment benefits?

The maximum amount of benefits payable to any worker within any benefit year shall be the amount equal to whichever is the lesser of:

  • Twenty-six (26) times his weekly benefit rate; or
  • One-third (1/3) of your base-period wages, except that the maximum amount must be less than fifteen (15) times your weekly benefit rate.

What is the “Waiting Week”?

Due to recent changes in the Unemployment Insurance law you must now serve a one week waiting period per Benefit Year. Your waiting week will always be your first payable week. You will request benefits for a two week period. If you are otherwise eligible, the amount of your first check will only be for one week. Your maximum benefit amount will not change. For more information, please go to

Am I eligible for Kentucky unemployment benefits?

Under Kentucky unemployment guidelines, a claimant must be a resident of Kentucky. In addition, eligible claimants must have lost their jobs through no fault of their own, through layoffs, reductions in force, or other circumstances in which the employer does not have enough work to go around. In some cases, claimants may have been forced to quit their jobs because of harassment, a dangerous or hostile work environment, or other unfavorable conditions created by the employer.

Claimants should first familiarize themselves with the Kentucky unemployment eligibility criteria. If you have lost your job through no fault of your own, through a layoff or reduction in force, for example, you may submit a claim for unemployment benefits, and your chances of being approved are very high. However, you also may be eligible for unemployment benefits in some cases, even if you voluntarily quit your job. You’ll need to submit a claim for unemployment benefits and fully explain the circumstances that you believe left you no choice but to quit your job.

At that point, your unemployment application will be reviewed, and the Kentucky unemployment office will reach out to your former employer to gather information about the circumstances of your unemployment.

A representative of the state will conduct a full fact-finding review of your eligibility status, gathering information from both you and your employer. The state will then make a determination about how Kentucky unemployment law applies to your specific situation and issue a determination regarding whether your claim is approved.

How do I receive my UI benefits?

Once you’ve been approved for Kentucky unemployment benefits, you can choose how you’d like to receive them. You can choose either direct deposit into your bank account or have your benefits loaded onto a U.S. Bank ReliaCard, which functions like a debit card. If you choose the debit card option, you will receive your first benefits payment by paper check, and all subsequent benefit payments will be loaded onto your card, which should arrive in the mail within seven days of your first payment being processed.

If you would like to change the way you’re receiving your unemployment benefits, you may do so by logging into your account. Navigate to the Payment Method link within your claim and change the way you’d like your benefits to be paid. Please note that the default method of payment is the ReliaCard option, so if you do not actively change to direct deposit, you’ll begin receiving benefits via ReliaCard. Use the Kentucky unemployment calculator to make sure you’re getting the correct benefit amount.

How do I report my work search activities?

Part of your responsibility as a recipient of Kentucky unemployment benefits will be to submit weekly claims for your benefits. As part of this work search requirement, the state of Kentucky requires you to report your work search activities. You’ll be asked a series of questions about your activities for the benefit week, so make sure to keep a careful record of the organizations and individuals you’re reaching out to in order to investigate work opportunities.

What if I disagree with a decision?

If you receive an unfavorable decision, you are welcome to file a request for appeal. Your employer also is allowed to file an appeal if they disagree with the initial determination. Either of you must do so within 30 days of the date on which your determination letter was postmarked. At this request, your claim will be reviewed again by an Appeals Branch referee who did not participate in the original determination.

If either you or your employer finds fault with the referee’s determination, the next level of Kentucky unemployment appeal is to the Unemployment Insurance Commission. The requirement is to file a request for appeal within 30 days of receiving notice of the referee’s determination.

At this point, if either party would like to appeal the decision of the Unemployment Insurance Commission, they may do so by filing a request for appeal with the appropriate circuit court in the county in which the claimant held employment. This action must be taken within 20 days of the postmark on the commission’s determination letter. If neither party appeals, the decision of the Unemployment Insurance Commission becomes final and irrevocable after 35 days.

All requests for appeal must be submitted in writing and may be sent via mail, fax or email.

What is a base period?

The base period is the earnings period used to determine your unemployment benefit amount. In Kentucky, the base period constitutes the first four of the last five calendar quarters. The amount of wages you earn during your base period must meet Kentucky’s threshold for benefits in order for you to be eligible and must have been earned through covered employment, which excludes contract work, some types of self-employment work, National Guard work, and work performed for religious institutions.

To be eligible for unemployment benefits in Kentucky, your earnings during your base period must be at least $1,500 in at least one quarter and must be at least 1.5 times the wages in your highest quarter. In addition, your earnings outside of your highest quarter must equal at least $1,500, and your wages during your last two quarters must equal at least eight times your weekly benefit rate.

What is is an online identity network company that makes it possible for people to provide consistent proof of their legal identity across a wide variety of online platforms. The state of Kentucky has partnered with to allow claimants to set up digital credentials to access their Kentucky unemployment benefits information. Once established, credentials can be used across many state and federal government websites to verify your identity. 

I just moved from California to Colorado and EDD interviewed me again, but I still qualify for it. I explained that I could not find work where I was.

If you are currently receiving benefits in one state and you move to another, you still receive benefits from the original state. You receive benefits from the state in which you worked for the past 18 months. All you have to do is provide your new address to your “original” state of residence and they will mark you as an interstate payee. You then continue to file your weekly certification as normal. You will receive the exact same amount of benefits, it does not change. You are required to seek employment in the new state you moved to.

  1. We have one employee that quit voluntarily several months ago and went to work for somebody else. Not sure if he was an actual employee or a contractor in his new job. We did however got a request from this new place for a previous job reference. He no longer works there we believe. He now comes back and files for unemployment benefits under our company’s past employment. Is this even legal? How can he even get any benefits?

  2. I live in KY but was working for a NC company in TN. When I applied for my claim online I checked I had not worked in KY for the eligible quarters in 2018. It said I was not eligible to draw. Where should I apply?

    • Joe,

      Please apply from the state where your employment was based. I suggest you check with your employer once before doing so.

  3. Am I able to draw Unemployment and Workers’ Compensation at the same time? My WC benefit would be much less that UI.

  4. My company is going to close and I will be able to receive a pension. Can I claim unemployment and will I have to claim your pension payment?

    • This goes back 8yrs but I was due my first unemployment check the week I got another job. Shouldn’t I have been entitled to that check?

  5. So my place of business closed in April. I filed in April for unemployment then they required me to fax my W-2 for reconsideration since my online application was incomplete. I did that, and it took over two months for someone to get back with me and approve my reconsideration. My question is will I get the 10-12 weeks of unemployment pay since my effective date was back in April?

  6. Am I eligible for benefits using the 01/01/17 – 12/31/17 format, if I had surgery during that year (had to be off for 8 weeks), but was still employed, and went back to work immediately after?

    • Sondra,

      UI benefits are only extended to those who’re out of work due to involuntary reasons. Personal reasons are generally not considered. Please call the Unemployment Office for clarification.

  7. I am getting laid off in a few weeks. My employer is giving me a retention bonus equal to 50% of my annual income. The funds will be paid out in one lump check. Will I be able to collect unemployment right away? I’m in Kentucky. I already tried to call the KY unemployment office regarding this issue and they were not able to provide me with an answer. Thanks!

  8. How do I make sure I my request for my first unemployment check went threw and I done everything right? I’ve struggled with this for a few months.

  9. I have worked at a company for 7 years, they are now telling me my position has been ended and asked that i sign a new pay agreement under a different title making less money. If i do not accept the new position will i qualify for unemployment?

    • Michelle,

      You might be eligible. Please call the Unemployment Office before making a decision on your employment.

  10. Why is there only one phone number to call to speak with a rep?? This number is ALWAYS busy. Budget cuts have shutdown local offices so we can not visit those. This system seems designed so employees cant access help with claims.

    • Joey,

      I can understand your situation. Please try finding answers to your questions on the department’s official website.

  11. I did not claim my last week of UI before opening up a new claim. If I try to request benefits, the system will recognize my new claim. What do I do here?

  12. I’ve been helping my dad with his unemployment due to him not be computor savey. After fileing and hom having to wait over two weeks it says we have to file agian to recive another benefit check (second check) for him. We file almost two weeks before the end of the year as well.

  13. I have worked for a Company in Kentucky for over three years, At the first of the year another company bought us out, a year later they decide to go from 2 shifts to 3 shifts changing times for work. can I drawl unemployment if I am unable to work them hours due to living so far away and having children that I have to pick up from the bus stop and no one else who can pick them up for me.

    • Freta,

      You should be able to claim under such conditions. Please make sure to consult the Unemployment Office before making a decision.

  14. Why am I not getting a check for the week of November 12th through November 18th? I started back to work on November 2oth 2017. So shouldn’t I get a check for that week before I started. It says I am not eligible??? I would like to know why

    • Christy,

      Please note this is a private forum and we do not have access to your claim file. For a definite answer and further instructions, please call the Claims Center at the phone numbers provided.

  15. I quit my job. My dad passed away and I really went to work to soon. Customers didn’t know he passed away and was asking over him. After being asked that about 10 times it was tearing me up. When I replacement got there I had an hour left on the clock but I had to leave before I broke down. The next day they wanted to suspend me a week with no pay. I worked for this company over 5 years. I was so hurt that I quit. When I filed for unemployment I was turned down! I’m writing a letter and appealing it. Do u think I will get it?

    • I can understand your situation. If you’re able to prove with a strong case/documentary evidence, you can be eligible.

      Please prepare well for the Appeal.

  16. I have been seasonally employed in Kentucky for the past 13 weeks and before that I was seasonally employed in Delaware from the first of the year until mid April and found that I would not be hired back in Delaware.
    I was wondering if I should apply for benefits through Kentucky and if my weekly benefits would be based on what I made in Delaware and Kentucky or only in Kentucky.

    • Rod,

      Seasonal workers are generally not eligible due to obvious nature of work. Please call the Unemployment Office to inquire how they treat seasonal employment in your state.

  17. For the past two years, I have worked on a yearly contract basis full-time. Once my most recent contract expired, I was not rehired and am currently unemployed and looking for a job. Am I eligible for benefits?

    • Contract workers are generally not eligible since employers’ do not remit relevant taxes.

      Please call the Unemployment Office to check your eligibility.

  18. I have worked for a company in KY for 7 years. I recently got transferred to another company in KY and have been employed there for 6 weeks and I have gotten laid off. Which company do I draw my unemployment from?

  19. I have filed my claim and indicated for the state and federal tax to be taken out. I have decided I would rather not have the federal and state tax taken out of my claim. Can this be changed?

    • David,

      I am not really sure if it can be changed and if “yes” at what juncture. Please call the Claims Center for directions.

  20. I have been working part time at a facility where I get 30 hrs. in 3-4 days weekly . I can no longer work there due to acute tendonitis in my Achilles heel. can I draw unemployment while I look for other more suitable work. I live in Kentucky 42003 area.

    • You may not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

  21. After being employed for 23 years I have been laid off.The company is paying me severance pay over a period of 23 weeks. Am I eligible for unemployment benefits during those 23 weeks? Thanks.

    • You should be eligible to collect UI benefits after the expiry of the severance payout.

      Please speak to the Unemployment Office to clarify since the Severance payout is relatively for a longer period.

  22. If I am collecting unemployment, how much money can I make part time to supplement my income without affecting the unemployment amount?

  23. I recently experienced carbonmonoxide poisoning to a near deadly level. Fortunately, my wife found me and got me to the hospital. I was released to return to work after a week. The residual effect of the chemical was a bit of brain fogginess and moodiness. This has since returned to normal. During my second week back, I was given a job to do ( I am maintenance in a mental health facility). The job required the use of several tools that could not be on the unit with patients. I expalined this and was given a short period of time to bet the job done with patients removed from the unit. I was hurrying to finish, worked through breaks and lunch, and with an hour of time left to go, patients started re entering the area. The administrator sent them back. I was angry at his disregard for my liability and patient safety. I went to confront him ( he is not my direct supervisor). The discussion got heated and I used language that I would not typically use in a situation like this. The next day, I was asked to turn in my keys and badge and not come back to this facility and and investigation would be done for what, if any diciplinary action would be warranted. It has been 2 weeks. I am still on payroll and have had to use up vacation time which is now exhausted. There has been no cummincation with HR nor has there been any investigation. My direct superviosr was not even asked. Am I entitled to unemployment in this situation? I do not know what my employment staus is. I was never terminated, and should have been reassigned according to policy but policy has not been followed in any way. I offered to meet, appologize, and I am sure that the health issue prompted the language. I have heard other employees use much worse with no action. This occurred away from other employees.

    • Mike,

      I can understand your situation. Please wait until the internal inquiry is completed. You will only be able to claim if your employment contract is terminated. You can also call the Unemployment Office to weigh your options.

  24. How do I report severance pay when calling to calim my benefits every two weeks? I is not wages earned because I am not working. which question do I report the severance pay under?

    • Since the reporting of Severance pay is state-specific, please call the Claims Center to get clarification and apply accordingly.

  25. I got a seasonal job in December. I was told that at the end of season there would be many full time positions available. If the company wasnt going to keep you on full time, they would let you know ahead of time. I was never informed that I would be let go. The company has a bad habit of not posting a schedule until a couple days beforehand. And also has a bad habit of changing your schedule, without informing you, a couple hours beforehand. I had no idea that I would be let go and nobody spoke with me about (like they are supposed to). My schedule just ended without any warning. Would I qualify for unemployment?

    • Yes, you can be eligible to claim UI benefits under such circumstances.

      Please consider applying until you find a new job.

  26. I worked for a contractor for 7 years. My contract was not renewed in February. The contract was bid out and a different company got the contract back. They contacted me about my previous job and were offering less the half the previous salary and no benefits for the same amount of work load. Can I turn that job down and keep looking for better employment in my area and still be eligible for unemployment benefits while I am looking?

    • Contract jobs are generally not eligible since employers’ do not pay the relevant taxes into the system.

      Please call the Unemployment Office for further details.

  27. July 31st is my last day with the company. I will receive severance pay. do I wait till my severance is gone. It will be paid out in 8 pay periods and not in a lump sum. when would it be best to apply?

    • File now, while they don’t pay while receiving severance they can estimate when payments can begin. Most states require you to file as soon as u are more longer working, and I know people who were denied for not filing in a timely manner.

  28. I have claimed unemployment benefits, but was denied after receiving my first check for lack of attendance at my last job, my lack of attendance was because I was arrested and spent two weeks in jail, causing my last employer to terminate me for what they said was abandonment of my job. But I had no choice and would have never been away from my job, except for being in jail. Is there no appeal process in this matter?

    • I don’t think appealing will work in your case since the reasons for denying benefits is justified as per the law.

      Please speak to the Unemployment Office to explore further options available for you.

  29. Can unemployment be filed after 13 years on a job and get fired for being to slow at job because of eye issues. And can SS be drawed at the same time?

    • Well, UI benefits are only extended to those who lose their job due to involuntary reasons. Please check with the Unemployment Office on the eligibility front.

  30. I was receiving unemployment benefits for two weeks when I took a temporary job for 8 days. My last day of work was on July 10th 2016. I started a new claim on July 13th. After filing for benefits online, for my first two weeks in waiting I received an message saying I was unable to request my next benefit check until the employer protest period was over. It gave me the date of August 14th before I can request my next benefit check, I waited until the 14th now the system is telling me I have to file an additional claim. When can I expect to receive benefits?

    • You may call the Claims Center on the phone numbers provided for the precise date of payment. There seems to be an issue with your claim.

  31. I requested my check on wed 7/13/16, i am getting direct deposit, i was wondering how long it takes for me to receive my check? one week? two weeks?

    • The first claim should not take more than a week, provided all the paperwork is in place. Direct Deposit happens even earlier.

      Please call the Claims Center for an update if you do not hear within this period.

  32. If I work at a school but been on films and been released to work , but now school is out for summer am I eligible for unemployment(as in previous summer’s)?

  33. I remember a woman laid off at the Dollar Store drawing unemployment for at least 18 months. Now all of us laid off coal miners only get it for 12 weeks. What a load of shite.

    • The number of weeks granted depends on multiple factors which includes your eligibility.

      If there is ambiguity, please call the claims center for clarification.

  34. We are a TN employer and have a former employee that was terminated for lack of work. The former employee relocated to TN from MI to take the position. The former employee still resides in TN but filed for unemployment insurance benefits in KY.

    Is this allowed?

    • If he is employed and still drawing UI benefits on the basis of the previous job, please report it since its fraudulent.

  35. I was laid off due to state budget cuts at school where I worked. I have been on unemployment for 6 mths and and received my last ck for that time period. I have worked almost my whole life, I was told eligibility for benefits is 18 mths. am I not able to continue drawing benefits until I get called back to my job which will not be until the school year 2016. I am promised a position in the next school year. I am confused, I contacted local unemployment office and did not get any answers only said no extensions given I am not asking for extension???? please advise

  36. I applied almost 4 weeks ago and I’m still getting a message saying I have been credited. How long does it take. I have been to the local office still no answer is there another number I can call to find out what is going on

  37. I called in my first unemployment check 11/18/15.. So when should I receive it. Check is coming by mail not direct deposit .

    • Initial claim takes up to 10 days to be processed and issued.

      Please wait and follow up if you do not receive within the stipulated timelines.

  38. I am drawing unemployment benefits and have taken a job,but this job is not working out. Have only worked 28 hours. Can I still go back to drawing unemployment?

  39. Worked at Trihealth in Ohio for 4-5 months since May 20,2015 to 9/15/15. I was recently lent go from my position. Who do I file with KY or Ohio

  40. If I have an independent contractor that no longer works at my business, either because she is fired or decides to walk out, can she put in and receive unemployment benefits?

    • Contract workers are not generally eligible to receive Unemployment Insurance Benefits.

      Please call the claims center/customer service of the labor dept. in your state for further information.

  41. I have worked at a community bank for 8 years. July 4, 2013, my son died suddenly and I have been off for a nervous breakdown and 2 surgeries, I have exhausted my FMLA except for 12 days. I have to have another surgery and my employer said that I can not take off for going to the doctor, etc….my attendances has been bad due to all the events of the year. Today I was put on final written warning. Am I eligiblle for benefits if I go ahead and resign?

    • Unfortunately,the UI program does not consider personal reasons as an exception.

      Voluntary reasons are generally not a qualifier.

  42. I am going to get laid off from work in a couple of weeks. I am 62 years of age and probably going to file for social security retirement. can I draw unemployment insurance in addition to SS retirement?

    • I will be laid off next month. I am eligible for the maximum benefit of $415/week. I am 63. Can I draw both SS and unemployment?

      • Please call the claims center of the labor dept in your state for more information.

        Some states allow provision of both.

  43. In Kentucky, if my employer suddenly cut my hours from full time to part time, can I collect unemployment for the lost wages? If so, how do I go about this?

  44. I am currently employed at excel mining. I was given notice of my lay off, lay off date is dec 02. they have mines in other states. if they offer me a job at one of those mines, I would have to move there. would I have to take the job?

  45. If u worked for a temp agency and you are still with that agency but you had to quit the job they sent you on, is that separation from employment, even though you’re not working at the employer that the temp agency sent you to, but you’re still employed with the temp agency

  46. I filed my request for unemployment benefits on wed. August 14th and did and it accepted my two week dates but I have not gotten my money and the automated system said a credit was made but no check was cit what do I need to do to get my benefits

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