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House OKs bill giving relief to some jobless aid recipients

State worker, barber's wife allegedly stole $1 million in unemployment benefits
Posted at 4:40 PM, Mar 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-05 16:40:25-05

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky lawmakers gave final approval to a bill Friday that would allow the state to waive the overpayment of some pandemic-related unemployment claims.

The House voted 94-0 to send the measure to Gov. Andy Beshear.

The measure, which previously passed the Senate, applies to some people who left their jobs early in the pandemic due to concerns about exposure to COVID-19. At the time, the state signaled they’d be eligible for jobless assistance, but recipients later were informed the money had to be given back.

Beshear’s administration pointed to the U.S. Labor Department for the mix-up.

The legislation seeks to remedy the unintended problem. It would allow the state Labor Cabinet to waive overpayments when the unemployment office was at fault. Recipients would be expected to request the waiver.

Lawmakers pointed to the hardships the reimbursements would cause people.

“Those folks were using that money to buy groceries and pay utilities and pay other bills,” Republican Rep. Russell Webber said Friday. “Many of them did not have it.”

The Labor Cabinet has praised the bill. After Senate passage last month, the cabinet said the measure would provide an “equitable solution and give claimants that have received an overpayment notice ample time to file an appeal.”

The legislation is Senate Bill 7.