Quick Takes

Video will help Kentuckians understand new unemployment insurance rules

By: - February 3, 2023 12:41 pm

Kentucky legal aid offices have released a video to help people who are out of work understand changes to the unemployment insurance system that took effect Jan. 1.

Katina Miner, advocacy director at Kentucky Legal Aid, says, “Unfortunately, this is not good news for people out of work. That’s why we want to make sure people know how to get help. Contact your closest legal aid office if you are unjustly denied a claim and need to file an appeal or if you need help getting benefits that you have been approved for.”

The changes enacted last year by the Kentucky legislature include:

  • Claimants will now receive unemployment benefits for a maximum of 12 weeks. This is reduced from 26 weeks.
  • All claimants must complete five unique and verifiable job search tasks a week, including three submitted applications. Previously, one activity was required.
  • There have been changes to the definition of suitable work. After six weeks, a claimant must accept the first job offer that pays 120% of their unemployment benefits and is within 30 miles of their home (or remote).
  • The unemployment office will conduct random audits. A claimant will receive an email about the audit. They will have ten days to respond. If the audit is unsuccessful, the claimant will receive a mailed “notice of redetermination.” There will be a limited amount of time to appeal.
  • Claimants should keep records of all job search tasks to submit in case of audit. This might include documentation of a scheduled interview, email copy of application, business cards from a job fair, text, and more.

“Navigating the unemployment system can be challenging, especially for those with limited access to internet. It is key that claimants have their email inboxes ready to receive communications from the state. Check spam and junk folders. And make sure you have room to receive messages. Critically, keep records of all job search tasks. Paper files can get lost. Take pictures of everything and upload them to a Google Doc or cloud so if you get audited you have what you need,” says Evan Smith, Advocacy Director at AppalReD Legal Aid.

Kentucky has four legal aid organizations, each serving a region of the state. Legal aid is a nonprofit that provides legal counsel and support in civil cases.

Legal aid staff urge anyone with challenges to contact them right away since there is a time limit on appeals. The legal aids helped thousands with unemployment benefit claims during the pandemic and will continue to assist claimants when they face barriers and unjust denials, says a  news release from AppalReD Legal Aid in Prestonsburg.

The video can be accessed here.


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