Federal aid set to expire while many Kentuckians continue to struggle with unemployment
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The struggling unemployment system could face more challenges while a pandemic relief bill has still not been signed.
The intial economic relief package included an additional $300 per week on top of state unemployment benefits. The federal aid expired on December 26. But that extra cash means nothing for people who aren’t receiving a paycheck in the first place.
“I keep applying every two weeks like it says and it just says that you’ve been approved for these weeks, but no check has been issued,” Tabitha Barrett said.
Barrett has been laid off twice this year: first in March, then again on October 9.
She said she had no problem during the first round of unemployment, but now she hasn’t seen a paycheck since the most recent layoff.
“I need This money. I have bills that I have to pay for, I have two kids that I have to support. I have car insurance, car payment, house,” she said.
Barrett is one of several Kentuckians who are still waiting for paychecks.
But even more delays could be just around the corner. The New York Times reports that even when the new economic relief package is signed, states will still need time to reprogram their computer systems to account for the new law.
With so many issues so far, Barrett says she’s not optimistic about the future.
“I’ve prayed and prayed and prayed for it to be fixed by now and I’m starting to really give up hope. I mean honestly I am. Because I don’t understand why there would be an issue now when I got it fixed before. Why have an issue now?”
Meanwhile, Kentucky’s Office of Unemployment Insurance is unable to determine how much money it still owes the thousands of people waiting for their claims to be processed, Kentucky Auditor Mike Harmon said.
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