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WKYT Investigates: Unemployment fraud; Kentuckians blaming ‘the system’

We’re more than a year and a half into the pandemic, and Kentuckians are still having problems with their unemployment.
Published: Nov. 8, 2021 at 2:28 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - We’re more than a year and a half into the pandemic, and Kentuckians are still having problems with their unemployment.

Thousands fell victim to fraud last year, and some are still trying to clear up confusion.

WKYT talked to BJ Hart about his fraudulent unemployment claim back in early March. Today, he is still trying to resolve it.

“I’ve still not really been able to get ahold of anybody, and on top of the problems that I was having before, now it seems like I’ve gotten actually three bills from unemployment saying that I owe them money, that they overpaid me,” notes Hart.

Only recently did the state try to collect on overpayment of unemployment Hart’s pretty certain he never received.

“I’m not just gonna send a check out knowing that somebody else out there is drawing unemployment under my name. It’s the same problems I was having before, just not being able to get ahold of anybody and not getting anything resolved, and now it’s added on to hey you owe us this money. Do I owe you that money, or does whoever else is drawing under my name owe you that money,” questions Hart. “I blame the system. You just want to point fingers everywhere, but you’re not sure where exactly that is, and that would be a wonderful question to be answered, was ‘who dropped the ball here? Why is there so many issues and things going on, and who is responsible for that?’”

WKYT asked Governor Andy Beshear about the unemployment problems the state still faces. He says the previous administration is partly responsible, for cutting resources to unemployment offices. He also blames the outdated computer system employees are using.

“It’s that we’re understaffed. Our system is so old it’s hard to find the claims that are unprocessed and steps that need to be taken. Our system is filled with fradulent claims that came in by the hundreds and thousands so we’re searching for the needle in the haystack. But with all that said, all of that is real because people are trying and they’re working as fast as they can,” notes Governor Beshear.

The Kentucky Labor Cabinet told WKYT in mid-September, they disqualified 80-thousand claims from receiving benefits. They have also implemented a new identification system for all claimants. They must now confirm identities through a third-party, called ID.me, in order to receive benefits.

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