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How Do Unemployment Benefits in Kentucky Work?

If you were laid off through no fault of your own, you may be able to get unemployment benefits in Kentucky. Learn more about your benefits with our guide

Although the unemployment rate in Kentucky has gone down since its 6.5% high in 2020, there are still many people who are in between jobs. While some are in such positions due to leaving their former workplaces to find better opportunities, many are also unemployed due to mass layoffs or other circumstances out of the employee’s control.

If you are in such a case, you can apply for temporary financial assistance through unemployment benefits in Kentucky.

Can I Receive Unemployment Benefits in Kentucky?

Qualified individuals can receive unemployment benefits in Kentucky. Similar to unemployment in Kansas and other states, the state provides financial assistance to Kentucky residents who meet all the eligibility requirements and submit the necessary claims.

Who Is Eligible for Unemployment in Kentucky?

Individuals who are eligible to apply for and receive unemployment benefits in Kentucky must first be legal residents of the state. The unemployment insurance eligibility requirements in Kentucky also include the following:

  • Currently unemployed due to no fault of their own, such as layoffs or reductions in force
  • Held a job in Kentucky for the past 12 months or more, in some cases
  • Received a minimum amount of wages as per state guidelines
  • Able to and available to work
  • Actively seeking new employment

How Do I Sign Up for Unemployment Benefits?

Individuals who meet all the requirements can sign up for or apply to receive unemployment benefits online through the official website of the Kentucky Career Center or by calling the official hotline at (502) 875-0442.

You will need to provide your personal information, including your Social Security number, as well as information on your last employer, including the reason behind your job termination.

However, completing the initial application does not immediately guarantee that you’ll get the benefits. The Kentucky Office of Unemployment Insurance will still review the application to determine whether the applicant has a valid claim.

How Much Money in Benefits Could I Potentially Receive?

Calculating the total unemployment insurance benefits that eligible applicants can receive primarily depends on three factors: the number of weeks receiving benefits, the base period, and the weekly benefit amount.

The base period refers to the first four of the last five full calendar quarters that you worked. Generally, the weekly benefit amount is around 1.1923% of your earnings during your base period or previous quarterly wages.

Unemployed workers file their claims and receive their benefits weekly. Kentucky unemployment benefit amounts per week go from a minimum of $39 to a maximum of $626 — regardless of how high the base period earnings amount to.

How Long Can I Receive Unemployment Benefits?

Similar to the regulations regarding weekly unemployment claims in RI, eligible Kentucky residents can receive unemployment insurance benefits for a maximum of 26 weeks. In order to receive these benefits, you will need to file your claims weekly.

Claimants who qualified for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance could receive temporary financial assistance for a total of up to 39 weeks.

Does Kentucky Tax Social Security?

No, retirees enjoy tax-friendly regulations regarding Social Security in Kentucky. All Social Security retirement benefits — from Social Security income to temporary disability benefits — are exempt from state income taxes. However, all unemployment compensation is still taxable.

Can I Work While on Unemployment in Kentucky?

Yes, it is possible to still receive unemployment compensation while working, but only for part-time work or working at reduced hours under your regular employer. In such cases, you may still receive partial benefits.

Can I Receive Unemployment Benefits if I Already Receive Other Social Security Aid?

Yes, although it may affect the amount of financial aid you are receiving. In general, receiving Social Security benefits, such as retirement income, does not disqualify an individual from receiving unemployment benefits. At most, it may lead to reduced compensation.

What Will Disqualify Me From Receiving Unemployment Benefits in Kentucky?

The inability to meet any of Kentucky unemployment benefits requirements will result in immediate disqualification. So, naturally, finding a new job and working full-time will result in disqualification or the end of receiving benefits, even if the 26 weeks are not yet over.

Other grounds for disqualification of claimants include:

  • Losing employment due to their own fault, such as quitting voluntarily or getting fired due to performance issues
  • Did not work in Kentucky during the previous year
  • Did not earn the minimum quarterly wage required as per Kentucky unemployment guidelines
  • Not actively seeking new employment while receiving unemployment assistance

How Long Will It Take for My Unemployment Claim To Be Approved?

Generally, it takes a minimum of 13 days or almost two weeks to get an unemployment claim approved for the first time. After that, it takes another two to five days for the payment to be deposited into the beneficiaries’ accounts.

The counting starts on the day the applicant submits their initial application. Applicants typically receive a letter indicating their benefit amount between days three to 12. Then, on day 13, they can file for or request their first benefit payment.

According to unemployment insurance law, all applicants must serve a “waiting week” or one-week waiting period for each year they apply for benefits. This waiting week is usually the first payable week you requested for benefit assistance.

How Will I Know If My Claim Has Been Approved?

Applicants receive an official letter from the state Office of Unemployment Insurance regarding their successful application to receive benefits and how much they would receive weekly.

Meanwhile, you will know when the money is sent to your nominated account for the weekly claims. Whether you choose a debit card option or a direct bank deposit, the first benefit payment will always be made through a paper check. All succeeding payments will then be wired or loaded onto the claimant’s debit card or bank account.

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