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Kentucky Unemployment Benefits

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Kentucky unemployment insurance (UI) provides local workers with temporary financial assistance while they are in between jobs. In general, UI is also referred to as unemployment compensation (UC). This program is available to claimants who were recently let go by employers through no fault of their own. Thus, UI is monitored and administered by the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training (OET) and the Kentucky Career Center. Eligible candidates can claim unemployment benefits and use these funds to support themselves and their families while searching for work.

The sections below outline how to apply for unemployment online and explain how claimants may submit their materials over the phone. Furthermore, the following sections explore how petitioners can determine if they qualify for UC benefits and what they must do if their claims are denied.

What is unemployment in Kentucky?

Unemployment in Kentucky is not intended to serve as a long-term financial solution to in-state candidates. Instead, the goal of unemployment insurance is to provide enrollees and their dependents with some financial stability while they search for new jobs. This program is funded through employers’ tax dollars. As a result, eligible applicants may enroll at no cost to them.

An accepted unemployment claim may qualify candidates to receive the state’s maximum enrollment period, which is 26 weeks. However, some applicants will receive benefits for a shorter period of time. Regardless of how long candidates are enrolled in unemployment insurance benefits, they will receive at least the state’s minimum weekly benefits amount (WBA), which is $39. Alternatively, applicants may receive the state’s maximum WBA, which is $448. In any case, all candidates will be unable to receive UI benefits during the program’s waiting week. The waiting week is the first week after claimants submit their applications.

What are the requirements to get unemployment in Kentucky?

In order to determine unemployment insurance eligibility in Kentucky, the OET requires applicants to meet specific criteria. One of these stipulations relates to past income. Eligibility for unemployment prerequisites examine how much money candidates made during their base periods. When determining UC eligibility, the base period refers to the first four of the last five calendar quarters. Each quarter is three months long, and they are divided as follows:

  • First quarter – January, February, March
  • Second quarter – April, May, June
  • Third quarter – July, August, September
  • Fourth quarter – October, November, December

For example, a candidate who applies in November would have a base period that starts in the third quarter of the previous year. Claimants can calculate who qualifies for unemployment once they establish their base periods. In order to meet the KY qualifications for unemployment, applicants must have:

  • Earned at least $750 in one of the four quarters of their base periods.
  • Earned wages in the third and fourth quarters that are comparable to wages earned in the first and second quarters
  • Earnings in their base periods that total at least 1.5 times the amount they earned during their highest quarters.

Furthermore, UC eligibility warrants that petitioners may only receive a WBA that is 1.1923 percent of their base period wages. Similarly, the total wages claimants earned in their final two base period quarters must total at least eight times their WBAs.

Beyond these financial eligibility for UI requirements, the OET examines two additional qualifying factors. Specifically, the department must identify whether or not petitioners lost their jobs for reasons that were out of their control. For instance, petitioners who quit their jobs due to personal reasons are typically unable to qualify for UC. Similarly, applicants who are fired for misconduct do not meet the state’s unemployment insurance eligibility requirements. Finally, the OET assesses whether or not petitioners are able and willing to accept suitable full-time jobs they are offered.

How can I sign up for unemployment in Kentucky?

Applicants can submit an online application for unemployment or to file a petition over the phone. In any case, claimants must provide the following information:

  • Social Security Numbers
  • Mailing addresses
  • The names, addresses and phone numbers for all employers they had within the past 18 months
  • Start and end dates of each employment they had within the past year and a half

How do I prepare for the unemployment insurance interview in Kentucky?

Candidates may need to prepare for the unemployment insurance interview in Kentucky, should the OET have questions regarding their applications. In general, these conversations are necessary when the OET finds incomplete or contradictory information within an application. While a request for an unemployment phone interview might seem unsettling to claimants, they do not mean that the OET will deny their claims.

The questions asked during unemployment interview are straightforward and specific to each situation. As a result, there is no formulaic set of questions that the OET representatives will ask. In some instances, the state may also need to conduct an unemployment interview with employer as part of this clarification process. Consequently, these conversations may be more involved because they require the OET to confirm more information. On the other hand, neither employers nor claimants should focus on how to pass the unemployment insurance interview. Instead, both parties should concern themselves with giving the OET honest answers.

In preparation for the UI interview with the claimant or employer, the parties must gather documentation that will support their arguments. For example, interviewees should have:

  • A copy of the employee handbook to reference specific policies or rules that relate to the employment termination.
  • Written warnings issued by the employer or the company’s Human Resources department.
  • Exit interview notes taken by the employer’s Human Resources department at the end of the claimant’s tenure with the company.
  • Email correspondence between the supervisor and the candidate, especially if it relates to job performance or position expectations.

How do I claim unemployment benefits in Kentucky?

In order to claim unemployment benefits in Kentucky, enrollees must recertify their petitions every two weeks. This means that beneficiaries are responsible for providing the Kentucky Career Center and the OET with information about their job search and finances twice a month. The first step in maintaining a KY unemployment benefits claim requires applicants to request their bi-weekly benefits. Petitioners may complete this task either online or over the phone. In this step, recipients must disclose any income they earned during the weeks they are claiming. Similarly, they are required to show evidence of any job searches they completed during those particular weeks.

Petitioners who are claiming benefits for unemployment must register for work with the OET and complete the full registration process online. In order to fulfill all of the OET’s requirements, beneficiaries must also:

  • Respond to all of the job openings and referrals sent by the OET.
  • Attend job interviews they were referred to.
  • Follow up with employers regarding opening positions.
  • Participate in reemployment services offered by the OET.
  • Search for job opportunities on their own time.
  • Accept an appropriate employment opportunity when offered.

When recipients claim UI benefits in KY, they must be sure to record their work search efforts in a booklet. The OET will periodically check enrollees’ work search histories, and beneficiaries will be unable to receive benefits if they do not maintain this task.

What do I do if I am denied unemployment benefits in Kentucky?

Applicants who are denied unemployment in Kentucky may file an appeal in an attempt to overturn the OET’s decision. Employers who disagree with the department’s determination of their cases may also request appeals. Candidates must file a denied unemployment benefits appeal within 10 days from when they were notified about the denial. Either party must send these appeals to the state’s Appeals Branch, where they will be reviewed by a referee or hearing officer. These officials are impartial adjudicators who are responsible for reviewing any information either party brings forth before the hearings. Referees in an unemployment denial appeal hearing will decide this case based on any evidence that is submitted prior to the trial and testimonies that are given during the hearing. However, claimants and supervisors must remember that they need to submit copies of their evidence to the other party beforehand. Failing to do so could result in the evidence being omitted from the record.

Most of these unemployment benefits denied hearings are conducted via teleconference. The OET will notify relevant parties of the dates and times for these trials by sending a hearing notice to their mailing addresses. Once the hearings end, the referees will mail their decisions to the individuals who are involved. Furthermore, claimants who disagree with the decision from the unemployment denial appeal hearing may request an additional appeal. This appeal must be sent to the state’s UI Commission.

How can I apply for a federal unemployment extension in Kentucky?

A federal unemployment extension in Kentucky may be available during periods when there is an above-average amount of unemployed workers throughout the state. An unemployment benefits extension of this nature is authorized by Congress and may be applied nationally or on a state-by-state basis. While not common, a KY unemployment extension would allow beneficiaries to enroll in UI benefits beyond the state’s 26-week maximum. In order to apply for a UC extension, recipients who have already exhausted the state’s claims limit must contact the OET to inquire about reenrollment.

How do I contact the Kentucky unemployment office?

The Kentucky unemployment office is available to answer any questions participants, supervisors or potential applicants may have about the UC program. In addition to calling the unemployment office phone number for a specific branch, individuals may visit the office in person. Different UI offices are located around the state. The office in Frankfort is located at:

121 Louisville Road

Frankfort, Kentucky 40601



How long can I collect unemployment if I qualify?

The amount of unemployment benefits you will receive is based on your past earnings. However, the maximum amount of time that you can collect benefits is 26 weeks.

Can I collect unemployment benefits and Social Security?

It is possible that your unemployment benefits could be reduced if you are receiving Social Security payments at the same time. However, the Social Security Department has no issue with individuals that collect from both sources.

How much can a person earn while on Unemployment?

Currently, the minimum amount of unemployment benefits given in the state of Kentucky is $39 per week and the maximum is $448 per week.

What if I still have questions about the unemployment process?

If you have questions regarding unemployment insurance in the state of Kentucky, you can reach out to them by using the contact information below:

Kentucky Office of Employment and Training

275 East Main St., 2WB

Frankfort, KY 40601

502-564-5331 phone

502-564-7452 fax

Kentucky Unemployment Office Locations


Office of Employment and Training 275 East Main Street 2nd Floor Frankfort, KY 40601 (502) 564-7456 View Website Unemployement Claim File

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