FRANKFORT, KY (WOWK) – General Counsel for Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, Amy Cubbage, shared more details about stimulus payments for unemployment insurance claimants in Kentucky.
Beshear first announced the payments in his State of the Commonwealth address last night. Approximately 60,000 Kentuckians will be eligible for these payments.
Cubbage and the governor said a $1,000 payment will be sent to those who filed claims between March 4 and Oct. 31, 2020, and have yet to have their claims resolved. To be eligible, Kentuckians need proof of identity and their claim must not have been flagged as fraudulent. They say a $400 payment will be sent to those who would have qualified for the $400 FEMA supplemental payment in August and September but didn’t have a high enough benefit amount to qualify. Those who drew a weekly benefit of $175 or less in November or December will also qualify for the $400.
According to Cubbage, the Office of Unemployment Insurance (OUI) is working on programming to get the one-time payments out to Kentuckians who qualify by the end of next week. The payments will arrive in the same manner as regular unemployment payments.
“Watch the KCC website for updates on timing and more specific details about these payments,” Cubbage said. “Also, if you receive your benefits on a prepaid debit card, please check the notice on the KCC website about the upcoming change in debit card providers. There will be a lag between providers, so unless you change your payment method to direct deposit into a bank account you will receive a paper check for a short period of time. If you prefer to receive a check rather than a direct deposit, please make sure we have your correct address.”
Cubbage also explained more about the new federal benefits Congress provided through the Continued Assistance Act in December. The benefits include:
- An 11-week extension of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program for non-traditional and contract employees. This means claimants under that program can qualify for a total of 50 weeks.
- An 11-week extension of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program, which provides some claimants who have exhausted traditional UI benefits continued benefits;
- The chance to regain the Extended Benefits program
- An 11-week $300 per week supplement similar to the $600 per week supplement during the spring and summer.
She also says said of the almost 1.5 million claims, only 90,000 initial claims across all programs have unresolved issues.
“A number of those claims appear to be fraudulent claims that will never pay out, and we estimate the true number of claims in that group is approximately 30,000. Only about 5% of claimants have outstanding initial issues, with about a quarter of those having filed in the last three months,” Cubbage said. “We are also proud that we have been able to pay benefits to more than 90% of claimants, where prior to the pandemic our average payment rate was 75%.”
Cubbage also said while the Continued Assistance Act has amended federal law to allow for forgiving overpayments, the state law still does not allow the waiver. She says officials are hoping the General Assembly will give them the flexibility to waive those payments so Kentuckians won’t have to worry about paying them back.