Lexington mom hopes to receive new unemployment benefit

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – When the federal government stopped giving out the extra $600 to unemployed Americas, a Lexington mother says she was shocked.

“My initial reaction was, “what am I going to do?” says Jasmine Sanford.

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She says she took a leave of absence in March from Walmart to care for her children when schools closed.

However, Sanford says her state unemployment benefits were small because it was based off of the last quarter of 2016, which is when she was came off of maternity leave.

“That monetary value of the unemployment was going to be next to nothing, so the extra 600 dollars was able to boost my paycheck,” Sanford says.

Now, five months later, the kids are still at home, which means extra groceries, school supplies and keeping them from watching TV all day.

Governor Andy Beshear says the state will apply Thursday for a new program that could bring an extra $400 in benefits a week for struggling Kentuckians. He says $300 will come from the federal government and says the state would cover the remaining $100 using CARES Act funds.

“It would definitely impact the value of my employment and allow me to contribute to my household,” Sanford says.

She says that means a lot, especially because the pandemic has hit more than just her finances.

“I’ve lost family members to the coronavirus,” says Sanford. “Its affected us all – not just monetarily – mentally, physically – it’s just been draining.”

Sanford tells me her faith keeps her going.

“To be honest, before corona, I was naturally a warrior,” says Sanford. “You can’t worry about things that are out of your control. I’m just living day-by-day.”

The initial $400 payment isn’t expected to arrive until September. It will apply to the period from July 26 to August 15, after the original $600 federal benefit expired.