Field work for unemployment, outside contractor coming this week

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Kentucky could have some in-person offices for unemployment in “two to three locations” by the end of this week and possibly as many as Four or five” by next week.

And by the end of this week, the state is signing a contract with an outside company to provide increased training, adjudicators and other tools to help the state get through the 9 percent or so of unemployment claims from March, April and May that have not yet been processed.

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Gov. Andy Beshear announced those changes, as well as the complete transition of the unemployment office into the Labor Department with the Cabinet secretary personally involved in the process.

“We’ve waited long enough, the people have waited long enough, too long,” Beshear said, continuing to take the blame for the delays in created in part by a 20-year-old computer system that was designed to tell people know and for a history of cuts to the department.

“By the end of this week, we hope to have some more in-person capabilities for processing and next week we hope to get people out in the field,” he continued, noting if the state hopes to spread out the four of five offices across the state to minimize the the distance people will have to drive for assistance.

Last week, the state opened up an in-person unemployment services in Frankfort and people waited hours, some even overnight, for assistance that sometimes only took minutes to get the claim moving forward.

“In some cases it was just a wrong box being checked, but that’s what happens when you have a system designed to tell people know,” Beshear stated.

More than 2,600 people were helped last week and state teams continue to clean up some of those this week.