Unemployment insurance was launched in the United States in 1935. It is a form of insurance policy that aims to provide short-term replacement of wages to individuals who are jobless due to no fault of their own. Unfortunately, it is not available for individuals who were fired for a just cause and those who deliberately quitted their jobs will not be eligible.
Unemployment insurance, which is also known as unemployment benefits, is precisely a form of social insurance. Employers provide the funds for this insurance through the payment of taxes into the unemployment trust fund.
The basic unemployment insurance program is run by the states, although the U.S. Department of Labor oversees the system. The basic program in most states provides up to 26 weeks of benefits to unemployed workers, replacing about half of their previous wages, on average. States provide most of the funding and pay for the actual benefits provided to workers; the federal government pays only the administrative costs. Although states are subject to a few federal requirements, they can set their eligibility criteria and benefit levels.
The federal law outlines the guidelines for the unemployment insurance program. However, each state has its unique unemployment insurance program. So in this post, we discuss Kentucky unemployment insurance.
Kentucky Unemployment Insurance
The Kentucky Unemployment Insurance is a social insurance policy in Kentucky that offers temporary cash benefits to employees who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own that meet Kentucky’s eligibility requirements.
Kentucky workers who have recently lost their jobs may be eligible for unemployment benefits. These benefits are in the form of payments available to employees who are out of work temporarily, through no fault of their own. Although the basic rules for unemployment are similar across the board, the benefit amounts, eligibility rules, and other details vary from state to state. In the following section of this post, we will be discussing how unemployment benefits work in Kentucky.
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Expanded Unemployment in Kentucky During the COVID-19 Pandemic
President Biden signed into law a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill on March 11, 2021. This bill is referred to as the American Rescue Plan (ARP). As a result of this new ARP policy, the $300 per week federal unemployment supplement —apart from whatever your state offers — is extended until September 6, 2021.
The law also expanded the two unemployment programs initially created by the CARES law in March 2020: pandemic unemployment benefits (PUA) and pandemic emergency unemployment benefits (PEUC).
As part of the PUA program, self-employed persons who are usually excluded from unemployment benefits are entitled to unemployment benefits. ARP provides unemployment benefits until Labor Day 2021 and increases the maximum duration of these benefits from 50 weeks to 79 weeks.
The PEUC program provides for the extension of federally funded benefits after state unemployment benefits expire. PEUC benefits last 24 to 53 weeks and end on September 4, 2021.
How to File a Claim for Unemployment Benefits in Kentucky
The Kentucky Office of Employment and Training (OET) is concerned with administering unemployment benefits to Kentucky workers. You may file your claim for unemployment benefits electronically or by phone. You can find contact information and online filing information at the Kentucky Career Center website.
Once the OET receives your application, it will send you information on your potential weekly benefit amount and how to claim your benefits.
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Eligibility Requirements for Kentucky Unemployment Benefits
The Kentucky OET determines eligibility for workers claiming benefits in the state. You must meet the following eligibility requirements to collect unemployment benefits:
You must be unemployed due to no fault of yours as defined by Kentucky law and have worked in Kentucky during the past 12 months (this period may be longer in some cases).
You must have earned a minimum amount of wages determined by Kentucky guidelines
You must be actively seeking work each week you are collecting benefits and must be able and available to work.
Do You Meet the Minimum Earnings Requirement?
Like every state, Kentucky looks at your recent work history and earnings during a one-year “base period” to determine your eligibility for unemployment. In Kentucky, as in most states, the base period is the earliest four of the five complete calendar quarters before filing your benefits claim. For instance, if you filed your claim in September 2015, the base period would be from April 1, 2014, through March 31, 2015.
To qualify for benefits in Kentucky, you must meet all four of the following requirements:
You must have earned at least $750 in one-quarter of the base period.
You must have earned at least $750 outside of your highest-paid quarter of the base period
In the entire base period, you must have earned at least 1.5 times your wages in the highest-paid quarter of the base period.
Your wages in the last two-quarters of the base period must be at least eight times your weekly benefit amount.
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Amount and Duration of Unemployment Benefits in Kentucky
People who have passed the conditions stated above can receive unemployment benefits. The weekly benefit rate in Kentucky will be 1.1923% of their total wages during the base period. In addition, they will receive a maximum of $415 each week; the minimum amount is $39. Successful unemployment benefits applicants in Kentucky can receive benefits for a maximum of 26 weeks. Please note that there may be additional weeks of benefits available to recipients during the high unemployment rate periods.
Collecting Unemployment Benefits After a Layoff
If you were laid off, lost your job in a reduction-in-force or got “downsized” due to economic reasons, you will be able to receive your unemployment benefits as it is due to no fault of yours.
Collecting Unemployment After Being Fired
People who were fired because they lacked the skills to perform the job or simply weren’t a good fit can still be eligible for the Kentucky unemployment insurance. But in a situation where they were fired for a good cause, they may be disqualified from being eligible for the unemployment benefits. For instance, if you were fired for willfully violating company policies you were aware of, you might not be eligible for benefits.
Collecting Unemployment After Quitting
Also, people who voluntarily resigned from their jobs without a good cause will not be eligible for unemployment insurance. Good cause in the above context means that the person had no other choice than to leave the job. For example, imagine a scenario where a worker had to quit his job because of his employer’s dangerous working conditions or persistent sexual harassment. In such a case, the person will be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.
Interestingly, workers can still be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits if they had to quit their jobs for strong compelling reasons, such as moving with a spouse relocated by the military force.
Are You Available and Actively Searching for Work?
To keep collecting unemployment benefits, you must be able to work, available to work, and looking for employment. As a result, you must accept any suitable job offer that comes your way. Whether a position is appropriate depends on a number of factors, including how similar the job is to your previous employment, how much you will be paid, the working conditions, and the skills, experience, and training required for the position. The longer you are unemployed, the more likely you will have to consider jobs that pay less and require less skill than your previous position.
Your job search must be done in good faith. You are also required to register with the Kentucky Career Center. The Center may also ask you to provide information about potential employers you’ve contacted.
How to Appeal a Denial of Unemployment Benefits in Kentucky
Workers who are denied their unemployment claim in Kentucky can appeal the decision to a referee within 15 days. To do that, a hearing will be held on your appeal, typically by phone. If you are unhappy with the referee’s decision, you may file an appeal with the Unemployment Insurance Commission within 15 days. If you are still dissatisfied, you may file an appeal in court within 20 days.
How can I contact someone for support with my unemployment benefits?
Please visit Kentucky’s Electronic Workplace for Employment Services (KEWES) to establish your unemployment insurance claim. In addition, you can contact them for any support and inquiries you may need concerning your unemployment insurance claims.
The KEWES Internet claims system is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week for claims filing. To request your bi-weekly benefit check online, the system is available Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. and Sunday from 2:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
To file your Kentucky unemployment insurance claim, you are required to visit the official website of the Kentucky office of unemployment insurance. The processes involved include completing your eligibility review, resetting your pin, updating your payment method and email address. In a situation where you are having issues with filing your claims, you can contact the KEWES support team.
As you are aware that unemployment is vital, hence do not joke with your unemployment insurance. Do your best to be eligible for one. All the best.