A year into pandemic, unemployment woes continue for many Kentuckians

Published: Apr. 2, 2021 at 11:16 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 2, 2021 at 11:53 AM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentuckians are still struggling to get payments after losing their jobs during the pandemic.

We’re now hearing from people who received payments initially, but they’ve stopped since then. It’s because of issues with something called a “BYE date” or benefit year end date.

This time last year we were hearing about people who lost their jobs but could not get through to the state unemployment phone numbers or websites. Now, we are hearing about fraud, scams, and people who were getting paid, but now those payments have stopped.

Several people have called us saying the clock has basically run out on them, that they have been getting payments but have not been able to get them renewed.

When they reach out to the state for help, no one either answers the phone or returns emails. As we have found out multiple times, it’s very hard or impossible to get anyone from the state to return calls or answer them.

“It’s impossible. I feel hopeless,” said Daniel Martinez, who is unemployed. “I don’t think no one can found out. I’ve called every day. I’ve emailed every day.”

COVID-19 had nothing to do with why Martinez lost his job, but he’s facing many of the same issues thousands of others have faced in trying to get help with the unemployment offices.

Another problem, some have seen their payments stopped because they’re going to other people.

“Never have I ever been compromised with my identity, as far as my social, has anyone found out my banking information. That was a little heart-wrenching,” said Hannah Kindoll, a victim of unemployment fraud.

State officials do say they are increasing in-person help. Several locations, including here in Lexington and Somerset will have that help in career centers. As many of 30 of those offices were shut down during the Bevin administration.

The career centers are slated to open around the middle of April.

People tell us they believe most of their problems could be solved if there was simply better communication from the state.

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