Another day in long and winding unemployment line for many

Published 8:00 am Thursday, June 18, 2020

For the second day in a row, hundreds of people who have unresolved issues with their unemployment stood in line for hours at the state Capitol campus Wednesday in the hopes of having their claims adjudicated.

One of them who drove the furthest was Lakin Workman from Flatwoods, who says she drove nearly 2 ½ hours to the Capitol Education Center, where she stood outside in line for about three hours to get served.

“I follow a Facebook group and found out this was happening through them,” she said, and left early thinking there would be a lot of people showing up. “I got my kids up at four at said, ‘Let’s go.’”

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She explained her circumstances. “I’m a cosmetologist and on March 18 we were shut down, so I filed that day. I got two payments, but I wasn’t able to claim in April because there was no benefits request section. So, I tried another way and was told ‘No because you have another claim.’”

“It’s been very stressful, and I can’t get ahold of anyone. It says Tier 3 and they’re going to call you back, and they just don’t.”

As her spot in line neared the CEC building, Workman said it was worth it. “I have my sunblock, I have everything, I am ready!”

She did admit the process has been frustrating, having to drive to Frankfort and stand in line for hours. “It is, but there are those who are worse off than me. I fear losing things like the others, but at the same time there are those who are way worse. There are people who are losing their homes, their cars, not being able to feed their kids, so I’m blessed.

Gov. Andy Beshear said earlier this week that since the coronavirus pandemic began, 167,420 have filed for unemployment in March, and 7,566 are still unresolved. April saw 429,056 filings with 27,507 contested. May had 295,879 seeking unemployment benefits, 17,619 of whom are still waiting for their first check. The three-month total is 892,355 filers and 52,684, who haven’t received benefits.

The end of the line, which stretched around the Capitol Annex, was cut off shortly after Kentucky Today spoke with Workman, and there is no official word yet on whether adjudicators will be back for a third day at the Capitol Education Center on Thursday, nor if they will take their program on the road to other parts of the state.