State opens in-person unemployment insurance service centers

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LEXINGTON Ky. (WTVQ) – After more than a year, there’s finally help on the way for those struggling with unemployment.

Last week, Governor Andy Beshear announced in-person unemployment services will open after being closed for more than 3 years.

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Starting this week, Kentucky Career Centers from Ashland to Somerset will be greeting folks with an appointment.

Last week, people like Mike Moore made his appointment as soon as he could.

“For my situation it’s been pretty rough. I’ve been out of work since December and haven’t been able to talk to anybody or get any kind of response,” says Moore.

He tells ABC 36 that trying to get unemployment feels like a full-time job.

“Several times a day sometimes all day long. I’d just hang up hit redial hang up hit redial staying up until midnight just trying to catch somebody,” explains Moore.

Moore says it’s been even harder since his account was flagged for fraud.

“I did get a message that I was under investigation for some kind of fraud or my social security number was being used for fraudulent claims,” recalls Moore.

According to the Congressional Research Service, the great recession unemployment rate increased by 5 percent in December 2007 to 9.5 percent in June 2009.

According to their numbers from the current recession, back in February 2020, unemployment increased from 3.5 percent in February and peaked at 14.8 percent in April.

In December of 2020, It fell to 6.7%, but people like Moore say they’re hoping to see it drop and the next step starts at the “steps” of the regional Kentucky Career Centers.

“I hope it works out everybody else too I hope it works out for me,” says Moore.

On Thursday, employers at Lexington Kentucky Career Center and at least two other centers talked to potential workers and were handing out job applications.

A Career fair will also take place at the Lexington location next week, April 20th and 21st.

If you’d like in-person help for unemployment assistance, you have to make an appointment.

To make yours, click the link here.

Unemployment Insurance Update
Today, Amy Cubbage, general counsel for Gov. Beshear, updated Kentuckians on in-person unemployment insurance (UI) appointments, federal tax returns for UI claimants and the UI system reopening after a temporary shutdown to enhance security.

Kentucky Career Centers Open to In-Person Appointments
After the previous administration eliminated in-person unemployment assistance, the Beshear administration returned those services to regional career centers on Thursday to assist more Kentuckians with their claims.

Cubbage said this morning, 13 regional Kentucky Career Centers opened for approximately 9,500 in-person appointments that are scheduled through April 30.

On April 19, Kentuckians can begin scheduling appointments for May 3; after that, appointments will open up for an additional day each night at 12 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Claimants with appointments are being offered additional career center services, including re-employment services, as part of their appointments.

Employers were handing out applications at some of the career centers on Thursday.

“We hope to have employers onsite next week with job opportunities available at all career center locations. These employer booths are outside the career centers and will be available, weather permitting, with no appointment. Masks and social distancing will still be required,” said Cubbage.

Kentuckians can also register for and access job search resources at kcc.ky.gov.

Federal Tax Refunds
Cubbage said if claimants filed federal taxes before Congress exempted the first $10,200 in unemployment insurance benefits from taxes, they do not need to file an amended return. The IRS has announced it will start processing refunds owed due to this new exemption in May.

UI System Reopened After Temporary Shutdown
The UI system reopened Tuesday morning after a temporary shutdown to stop suspicious and aggressive criminals attempting to gain unauthorized access to UI customer data.

“During the system shut down we moved everyone to a new eight-digit PIN so it would be more secure than our previous four-digit PIN. Letters were mailed in batches giving claimants new PIN numbers and step-by-step instructions on how to register in the new UI system,” said Cubbage.

Approximately 30,000 people have already registered in the new UI system.

“If you have not received your letter and need to access your UI account you can call our UI Help Line at 502-564-2900 and staff will be able to reset your PIN once they verify your identification,” Cubbage added.

Hours for the UI Help Line are:

  • Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. through 8 p.m. EDT. If claimants are in the que by 8 p.m., they will be assisted.
  • Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EDT
  • Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. EDT

At this time, UI staff will only be helping with the registration process or resetting PIN numbers on the help line.

“If your PIN is reset over the phone with our staff, when your letter arrives that PIN is no longer valid. You will need to use the PIN that was reset for you over the phone,” said Cubbage. “Once you receive your PIN, you will need to register in the UI system as a new user. Your letter that has your new PIN also has step-by-step instructions on how to complete the registration.”

There is a tutorial video and step-by-step guide online at kcc.ky.gov.