LEXINGTON, Ky.— Frustrated Kentuckians who have had trouble with unemployment insurance services are now able to schedule face to face meetings.
Losing a job can be an unsettling time for most people, but for Kentuckians like Robert Page seeking unemployment benefits, that stress is compounded by the failures in the state’s unemployment insurance system.
"I’m 60- years -old, never drew unemployment in my life until this happened and here I am," explains Page.
Out of work because the coronavirus slowed business, Page who isn’t tech savvy says navigating the system has become a full-time job without pay.
"The third week of March last year and they had the hike. They cut me out of $1,600. I ain't had any money coming since July last year," stresses Page.
Like many, Page's patience has been tested, as he is strapped for cash and pushing his finances to their limits.
"If it weren’t for my wife drawing her social security I’d be homeless," explains Page.
In a continued effort to boost assistance for those dealing with ongoing issues with unemployment insurance, the state has opened 11 locations across the Commonwealth — as regional offices have been closed since 2017.
When the online portal launched to reserve an appointment this week, Page decided to drive 143 miles from Bedford to Lexington to secure a face to face appointment.
"Drove down here 50 bucks in gas, $85 for a motel room because I knew this would probably be the only appointment for a month or so," adds Page.
Page is now hoping his appointment with the unemployment specialist will help get him squared away.
Courtney Cays is out of work — and she is also feeling the consequences of the troubled unemployment system. "If they would just answer the phone that would be great and not have to wait for 7 hours to get hung up on," suggests Cays
She was excited to grab an appointment after being jobless since the shutdown.
"It was like winning the lottery, seriously," explains Cays.
She drove from Fisherville to Lexington and says it was nice to hear things from a real person after playing phone tag for over a year.
"I’ve just been having trouble off and on for a year with my unemployment claim. I’m on Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. They gave me my back pay last week and I got six checks in the mail and some money on a debit card, says Cays.
As to whether these Kentuckians believe they’ll be taken care of, "I mean there’s a chance. You know that’s all I can hope for, there’s a chance I might get some money in a couple weeks," explains Page.
A photo ID is required to enter the Kentucky Career Center Facilities and masks must be worn at all times while inside.
For more information about booking an in-person appointment, click here.