Kentucky officials find dozens of problems with unemployment benefits

Kentucky

OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) – Frustrations continue to build over unemployment benefits in the Commonwealth, as the state’s auditor says there could be as many as 100,000 Kentuckians waiting to receive assistance.

The Kentucky General Assembly is considering House Bill 413, which would help businesses stay open and help individuals get through to their claims.

State Representative Melinda Gibbons Prunty (R-Belton) said the issues around unemployment claims are wide and something needs to be done right now.  

“I’m still getting Facebook messages and phone calls at the office and emails from individuals who still have not received anything from back in March,” said Rep. Gibbons Prunty. “They can’t get on, they get in cue and some gentleman just messaged me and said he waited 8 hours and never got anyone to answer the phone.” 

State Auditor Mike Harmon said his office found 25 issues with Kentucky’s Office of Unemployment Insurance during an annual statewide audit. The audit also found the unemployment insurance office ignored 400,000 emails from people asking for help. 

Some of those emails came from Owensboro resident Sam Green.

“I had been emailing them almost every day and I read in the paper last week that over 400,000 of the emails that people had been sending them, they were archived, they weren’t even read and I don’t know what to do anymore,” Green said. “I can not get ahold of anyone and I tried calling the unemployment office and you can’t get through.”

Green was scheduled to start a new job last March, but that job disappeared just days after the initial pandemic lockdown and now he spends his days sleeping inside his van. Green said he hopes for a call or for some help sooner rather than later.

Green has not received any unemployment assistance in that time. 

“If you would have told me two years ago that I would be in this position…no,” Green said. “Never would’ve dreamed in a million years that I’d be where I’m at now.”

Rep. Gibbons Prunty said any of her constituents can call 502-564-8100 to get in touch with her office.

(This story was originally published on February 24, 2021)

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