by Kailey Hagen | March 31, 2020
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Kentucky workers should apply for unemployment if they cannot work due to COVID-19.
Kentucky businesses are doing their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 by shutting down until the crisis has passed, but this creates a new problem for the thousands of workers currently out of a job. You might be wondering how you'll get through the next few months without a paycheck. Unemployment can -- and should -- be part of that plan, if you qualify.
Here's how to determine if you're able to claim unemployment benefits, and if so, how much you might get.
Kentucky residents must meet the following requirements to claim unemployment benefits:
Kentucky has waived the work-search requirement due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It has also taken the unprecedented step of opening unemployment benefits to independent contractors and self-employed workers, who are normally not eligible.
The state evaluates your earnings during a base period -- the first four of the last five completed quarters before you applied for unemployment. The base period for those who apply in March is October 2018 to September 2019. For those who apply in April, it's January to December 2019.
Your wages during the base period must check all these boxes to qualify:
You can apply for unemployment on the Kentucky Office of Unemployment Insurance website. You'll need:
Due to unusually high demand caused by COVID-19 layoffs, Kentucky is requesting workers apply for unemployment and file their biweekly unemployment claims on a certain day of the week. As of March 30, 2020, here's when you should file based on the first letter of your last name:
|Day of the Week||First Letter of Last Name|
|Friday||If you missed your day|
Source: Kentucky Career Center.
After you create your account, you must file claims every other week to receive your benefits. There's usually a one-week waiting period, but it's waived during the pandemic.
You could receive anywhere from $39 per week to $552 per week in state unemployment benefits. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), passed in late March, will add $600 per week in federally funded unemployment benefits to that number through July 2020. Your weekly state benefit amount (WBA) is 1.1923% of your total base period earnings. Here's a calculator to help you figure out how much you can expect.
Your maximum benefit amount is the lesser of:
You can file an appeal in writing if your unemployment claim is denied. Your appeal must be postmarked within 15 days of the mail date on your denial.
Unemployment benefits won't solve everything, but it can make the coming months a little easier. Apply on your appointed day this week if you believe you qualify.
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