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Kentuckian says same unemployment claim mistake that could be fixed in minutes before the pandemic now takes days

Published: Jan. 26, 2021 at 10:24 PM EST
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - While the COVID-19 vaccine is offering a light at the end of the tunnel for the virus, many Kentuckians still struggling to get unemployment checks feel like they’re stuck in a never-ending loop.

Tim Doyle is a bridge repair worker for the state, and he’s all about fixing small issues before they become a big problem.

“A support gets weak, they fix it,” Doyle said. “They fix the little things to hold the big things, so we have to work from the bottom up.”

It’s the same advice he’s giving the state’s unemployment office after his small mistake making a claim has turned into days of unanswered phone calls and emails. Doyle said he accidentally entered the date of Jan. 11 instead of Jan. 8.

“It upsets me because if I had done it in the past and made the same mistake, I could have gone into the local office and within a matter of about five minutes, one of the state unemployment people would have fixed the error, sent me home, and it would have been straight,” Doyle said.

But, now he spends his time trying to get in touch with someone in unemployment, hoping he and his wife, who was just diagnosed with a heart condition, have funds that can hold up until the support of a check comes through.

“Now we’re faced with not only medical issues, now we’re going to be faced with money issues,” Doyle said. “It’s just going to be a struggle.”

It’s the same bridge thousands of other Kentuckians are waiting for the state to repair.

“Our system is so old, you’ve got to code it just to get the number of claims you’ve processed in a day,” Gov. Andy Beshear said in an unemployment number update on Monday. “It’s unacceptable that we have a system like this for something so important.”

Of the more than 1.5 million claims the office has through the end of November, the state reports that when they remove duplicates and other claim errors, it’s about 650,000 people. The state reported 87,000 of those are pending because of a claim hang up.

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