CINCINNATI, Ohio — When Dante Grissom started making good money as a forklift driver, he began collecting all sorts of fish as a hobby.

What You Need To Know

  • Kentucky has more than 122,000 unresolved unemployment claims

  • Dante Grissom was laid off from his job in Northern Kentucky in February

  • Documentation shows he qualifies for benefits, but funds have not been disbursed

  • One in-person appointment in Louisville yielded no answers

The company he worked for in Covington laid him off in February, and Grissom hasn’t gotten any unemployment benefits, making it tough to keep up with maintenance.

“These are the things I was doing before I lost my job, buying exotic fish and being well into my hobbies, but I can’t do that anymore,” Grissom said.

Paying bills and keeping up with basic life necessities was a concern for Grissom and his wife, Cassandra.

“I had a great job. I was making great money. My bills were all caught up and now, it’s a struggle,” he said.

Cassandra also saw her hours cut at work because of the pandemic.

“It’s really tough day-to-day in trying to keep ourselves on an even plane even just in our household to where we’re not fighting with each other because, you know how it is when there’s no money. Everything’s ablaze,” she said.

Dante is one of the thousands who filed for unemployment benefits in Kentucky and haven’t received any benefits.

Documents he shared with Spectrum News 1 show he qualifies for benefits and has no apparent issues with his ID. The unemployment site only tells him his claim is under “fact-finding,” a common problem for people who have been waiting for money.

“I’m at the point where I’m starting to think it’s a hoax,” Grissom said. “I don’t even know if it’s real at this point.”

Dante and Cassandra have been calling the unemployment office for months with no answers. They even drove from their home in Cincinnati to Louisville for an in-person appointment.

“It was drama,” Cassandra said. “We expected to have results. We drove two hours there and had to drive two hours back. We expected some results and here we are, almost a month later, and still nothing.”

Dante has a new job now and Cassandra is back to full-time, but Dante’s job doesn’t pay nearly as much as the previous job he had.

“It’s frustrating because it feels, again, like I’m working from behind,” Dante said. “It feels like I’m moving backwards.”

And given what he’s experienced with the unemployment system in Kentucky, Grissom isn’t sure he’s going to come back.  

“I wouldn’t recommend anyone work in Kentucky right now just for the simple fact that if you lose your job in Kentucky, you’re going to be added to a list of thousands of other people, including myself, without any answers,” he said. “And you will be in financial trouble.”

According to numbers from the Kentucky Labor Cabinet, the state is dealing with 122,578 unresolved unemployment claims, with 56,437 of those being flagged for fraud or identity issues.