Facebook support group for Kentuckians dealing with unemployment

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) — Since June, the state says it has spent nearly $17 million in CARES Act money on outside help to process an unprecedented number of coronavirus-related unemployment claims.

There’s a support group of Kentuckians on Facebook dealing with unemployment issues and it has more than 25,000 members.

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Thousands of Kentuckians are still struggling to get unemployment during the pandemic.

Some still haven’t received any money, some dealing with technical glitches, others claims are under investigation for varying reasons.

Single-mom Jessica Rodriguez is among them.

“It’s causing me a lot of anxiety. I’ve been really stressed. I can’t sleep. I’m worried about paying the bills and keeping a roof over our heads,” says Jessica Rodriguez.

Some people have been waiting for an unemployment check since the virus hit Kentucky in March.

“It’s so sad,” says Facebook group moderator Makyta Poynter. “I mean people have lost their homes, got eviction notices, their lights have been cut off.”

Poynter says the requests to join the group never stop.

“It’s not even each week it’s everyday, like every time I log on to it,” says Poynter. “Like this morning there was 43 but that was just this morning.”

She says members join the group to get answers they can’t seem to get elsewhere sharing their story on the page in hopes someone else has a similar story and got their issue resolved.

“It’s just like a big family,” says Poynter.

She had her issue fixed early on but she stays in the group to help those not so lucky.

Like group member Jessica Rodriguez who had to leave her job in July because her medical issues make her higher risk, and she didn’t have childcare. She hasn’t had any income since.

“I had a 401k and I had to completely just empty it to make ends meet,” says Rodriguez.

For her, the Facebook group has been a great source of information and support.

“It kind of lifts my spirits to know I’m not the only one going through it and that’s the only place you’re really getting any compassion from people,” says Rodriguez.

To learn more about the group, click here.

According to the Kentucky Department of Labor, since the pandemic hit in March the state has received more than 1.2-million unemployment claims and paid out more than $3.6-billion in benefits.

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Christy Bollinger joined the ABC 36 news team as a reporter in March 2018. Christy comes from a little western Kentucky town called Cadiz. She graduated from Western Kentucky University in May 2017 with degrees in Broadcast Journalism and Criminology. Christy is thrilled to be working at her dream job in her home state. She is passionate about storytelling and you can see her weekdays on ABC 36 News at 5 and 6 p.m. She's covered everything from visits from the sitting president and vice president, to high-profile murder cases. When not chasing stories, Christy loves nothing more than being at the beach and says life is just better with sand between your toes and waves crashing at your feet. She is also a big animal lover. She's a fur momma and her mini-Australian Shepherd, Milly, standard Australian Shepherd, Bennie, and her Maine Coon, Cheeto, are the loves of her life. Christy encourages you to send her any story ideas you may have. Find her on Facebook at Christy Bollinger ABC 36, tweet her @ChristyB_news, or email her at CBollinger@wtvq.com.