LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Payments that are part of a federal program to aid those unemployed because of the ongoing pandemic will end this weekend under federal rules, affecting roughly 4,700 Kentuckians, the Kentucky Labor Cabinet said Tuesday in a news release.
On Monday, the U.S. Department of Labor notified the state agency that the number of people receiving extended benefit unemployment insurance as a percentage of the labor force had fallen below the qualifying threshold for the state to continue dispersing funds under the program. As a result, the state will be barred from such payments for a minimum of 13 weeks.
Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary October 2020 unemployment rate was 7.4%, the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet announced last week. The preliminary October 2020 jobless rate was up nearly two percentage points from September 2020.
Gov. Andy Beshear said there was no recourse to reverse the federal agency’s decision and acknowledged that Kentucky families are hurting financially because of the pandemic.
The federal Department of Labor “sets the rules for unemployment eligibility, and we are required to follow those rules,” Beshear said.
After Nov. 28, no new applications will be accepted and claimants who have yet to exhaust all benefits will not receive the balance of their funds. While the extended benefit program is ending, Kentuckians can still apply for traditional unemployment insurance.
Hudspeth Blackburn is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.