Being unemployed can be a hard phase in anyone’s life. Not only have you recently lost a job, but, now, you have to find another one. You also need money to keep up with your bills and daily expenses. This is where unemployment insurance benefits come in, and they can be very helpful in keeping you solvent as you search for new employment. Unemployment benefits are available to Kentucky residents through the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training (OET).

How to Qualify for Unemployment

In Kentucky, you must either experience a reduction in your hours at work, or you must have completely ceased working. If you quit your job, you have to have a good reason related to the job as to why you quit. Alternatively, if you were fired, then it cannot be because of something you did. Another requirement is that you have to be available for employment, able to work, and actively looking for a job. You also have to register with a local Kentucky Career Center to find a new job.

Financially, you are required to have earned enough during a base period, which consists of four financial quarters, to qualify for unemployment. You have to have earned $750 in one quarter of the base period. During the entire base period, your total earnings need to add up to 1.5 times higher than the highest amount that you earned in any one quarter. In the last two quarters of the base period, you must have earned 8 times the weekly benefit amount that you would otherwise be entitled to receive.

How to Apply for Unemployment

You can file for unemployment online at Kentucky’s Electronic Workplace for Employment Services (KEWES), by phone via the Voice Response Unit, or at a local Kentucky Career Office. To file a claim, you need your full address and social security number. You will also be required to list the name, address, and phone number for every business you worked for in the past 18 months, as well as the start and end dates for each of those jobs. Additionally, the OET may request even more information from you, such as information regarding any dependents that you may list or details related to why your employment ended.

If you have already been unemployed, but are still within the same year when you first applied, then you can just file an additional claim without having to go through the process of starting the claims process from the beginning. However, if a whole year has passed before you apply unemployment benefits again, then you need to file a new claim.

How Long Does Unemployment Last?

The longest for which you can receive unemployment is 26 weeks. You are required to wait one week after being approved before you can start receiving benefits. The least you can receive is $39 per week, and the most you can receive is $415 per week. You have to claim your benefits every week either by phone or online.

As part of each weekly claim, you need to disclose if you received any money for work that week. You also have to participate in Focus Career through the Kentucky Career Center, which requires you to register for work. Focus Career will also alert you to job openings. You have to apply to at least 2 jobs per week.

What Can I Do If I Run Out of Unemployment?

There can be an extension on unemployment benefits up to an additional 14 weeks. However, this only applies during periods of high unemployment, and you have to meet specific criteria to qualify for these additional benefits.

The Kentucky Career Center also helps unemployed workers with counseling, vocational services for those with disabilities, interview prep, computer skills training, and skill level testing. You might also qualify for specific training for a new line of employment.

What Should I Know About Kentucky?

For an initial denial of your application for unemployment insurance benefits, you have 15 days to appeal the decision. If you are denied again, you have another 15 days to appeal that decision with the Unemployment Insurance Commission. Finally, if you still do not receive unemployment benefits, then you can file a petition to appeal in court within 20 days.

Where Can I Find the Right Lawyer?

You may need to reach out to a Kentucky workers compensation lawyer to make sure you receive your unemployment benefits. During such a tough time, it may be best to get expert advice from a lawyer with regard to your application and, in the event of a denial, your efforts in appealing the denial.