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Unemployment Insurance Overview


Unemployment insurance is a vital safety net for individuals who have lost their jobs. In the state of Kentucky, the Unemployment Insurance program provides financial support to eligible workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own.It is an essential program aimed at assisting individuals to get back on their feet while they search for new employment opportunities.

Changes to the Kentucky Unemployment Insurance Program

The Kentucky General Assembly implemented alterations to the state’s unemployment insurance program. This was done through House Bill four during the regular session of 2022, after overriding Governor Beshear’s veto of the bill.

From January 1, 2023, onwards, claimants who qualify for UI benefits will receive a maximum of 12 weeks of benefits. Alongside this, there will be modifications to the work search requirements.

Work Search Requirements

Starting from January 1, 2023, you will be required to report five unique job contacts per week. These contacts should come from certain categories: a formal job application or a job interview. At least three of the five weekly job contacts must be from these two categories. The remaining two contacts can be actions from the previous categories or from the following six actions:

  1. Formally submitting an application for employment (in person or online).
  2. Interviewing for employment (in person or online).
  3. Job shadowing.
  4. Attending a job fair or networking event hosted by a state or local government or business organization.
  5. Participating in a job search skills workshop or seminar.
  6. Participating in a Kentucky Career Center or partner program’s training related to employment or the search for employment.

Each time you request benefits, you will need to certify that you have fulfilled the new work search requirements for the respective week. This certification ensures that you provide honest and accurate information related to your work search activities.

Documentation of Work Search Activities and Job Contacts

When it comes to work search activities and job contacts, you should keep documentation that verifies your efforts. These can include, but are not limited to:

  1. A copy of the job application confirmation, submission email, or fax confirmation.
  2. Documentation of interviews scheduled or a form letter signed by the employer.
  3. A form letter completed by the employer, including dates and hours, for job shadowing.
  4. Documentation from job fairs or networking events, such as business cards or signed form letters.
  5. Emails, certificates, or screenshots proving participation in job search skills workshops or seminars.
  6. Confirmation of registration, job referral, or participation in employment search programs through the Kentucky Career Center or a partner.

If you fail to meet the reporting requirements, you may lose benefits for the week being claimed. Please check your email for more detailed information.

Suitable Work Definition and Work Refusal Update

Effective January 1, 2023, suitable work is defined as employment offered to a claimant who has already received at least six weeks of benefits during their current period of unemployment. If such a job is within 30 miles of the claimant’s residence or can be done remotely on a permanent basis, the claimant must accept it. The claimant will receive 120% of their weekly benefit amount.

Under Section 341.350 of the Kentucky unemployment compensation laws and regulations, an individual will be ineligible for benefits if they fail, without good cause, to apply for available suitable work or to accept it when offered by the employment office or an employing unit.

Additional Information

If you have more questions about these changes, please visit

Eligibility Criteria

Before applying for unemployment insurance benefits in Kentucky, it is important to understand the eligibility requirements.

To qualify for unemployment insurance in Kentucky, an individual must have:

  • Earned a minimum amount of wages during a specified period
  • Become unemployed through no fault of their own
  • Actively seeking new employment
  • Currently available and able to work
  • Registered with the Kentucky Career Center

It is crucial to meet all eligibility criteria to ensure a smooth application process and to receive the necessary benefits.

Application Process

Applying for unemployment insurance benefits in Kentucky can be done online through the official Kentucky Career Center website. The application process typically involves the following steps:

  1. Create an account on the Kentucky Career Center website
  2. Provide personal information, such as name, Social Security number, and contact details
  3. Specify the reason for unemployment and the last day of employment
  4. Submit work history details, including previous employers and wages earned
  5. Complete a skills assessment questionnaire
  6. Agree to the terms and conditions
  7. Review and submit the application

Once the application is submitted, it is important to regularly check the status of the claim and respond promptly to any requests for additional information to avoid delays in receiving benefits.

Calculating Benefits

Unemployment insurance benefits in Kentucky are calculated based on the individual’s wages earned in the base period. The base period is generally the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before the individual’s initial claim for benefits.

The weekly benefit amount is calculated by dividing the total wages earned during the highest quarter of the base period by 26. The maximum weekly benefit amount an individual can receive in Kentucky is subject to change each year.

Duration of Benefits

The duration of unemployment insurance benefits in Kentucky is determined by various factors, including the individual’s work history and the prevailing unemployment rate. Currently, the maximum duration of benefits is 26 weeks.

Extensions in benefits may be available during periods of high unemployment in the state, ensuring support for individuals who are still unemployed upon reaching the maximum duration of regular benefits.

Unemployment insurance is a crucial program that provides financial assistance to eligible individuals who are unemployed in Kentucky. By meeting the necessary eligibility criteria and completing the application process accurately, individuals can access the benefits they need while navigating the job market. It is important to stay informed about the ongoing requirements and changes to the program to maximize the support available during periods of unemployment.

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