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Kentucky Unemployment Benefits

The Unemployment Insurance (UI) in Kentucky is issued to those who have lost their jobs for no cause or no fault of the employee. The unemployment insurance helps such individuals by providing them financial assistance until they find another career opportunity.

This page will discuss how to file for unemployment benefits in Kentucky, eligibility criteria, and other factors you will need to know about Unemployment Insurance in Kentucky.

Eligibility To Apply for UI Benefits in Kentucky

To receive Kentucky unemployment benefits, you should meet three eligibility criteria- monetary benefits, job separation, and maintaining eligibility throughout the benefit period.

Monetary Eligibility

You must have sufficient wages in the base period. As per Kentucky’s laws, the first four of the five completed quarters are identified as the base period.

You must have worked for more than one year to be eligible for Unemployment Insurance and must have earned a minimum of $1500 during the base period to earn the monetary qualification.

The total wages earned during the base period will also influence how much maximum benefit amount and weekly benefit amount you may receive. The minimum weekly benefits claimants will receive in Kentucky is $39, and the maximum amount one may earn is $552.

The claimants are also mandated to serve the Waiting Week if they become eligible for Unemployment Insurance. The waiting week is the first benefit week, for which the claimants will request weekly benefits. You, however, will not receive a benefit amount during the waiting week.

Find out more about eligibility requirements

Job Separation

You must prove to the Kentucky Career Center (KCC) that you did not lose your previous job due to your fault. The following are some of the reasons that will result in denial of qualification for UI benefits if:

  • You were fired from your previous employment due to misconduct
  • You resigned from your previous job due to a lack of interest in work
  • You quit the job from your previous organization with no attributable cause attached
  • You were involved in any illegal or illegitimate activities in your previous organizations
  • You were fired from your previous organization due to a prolonged medical illness that will affect your prospects of employment in the future as well

The reason you provide to the department for your job separation will be verified by the concerned officials. The department will also consult your previous employers to verify if the reason for the job separation given by you is supported by your previous employer.

Eligibility Calculator

Eligibility requirements – overview

Maintaining Eligibility

You will gain eligibility for UI benefits once you establish your monetary eligibility and your eligibility for job-separation criteria. You must, however, follow all the rules and regulations to remain eligible for UI benefits throughout the benefit period.

To maintain the eligibility for unemployment benefits in Kentucky, you must meet the following expectations:

  • You must be able to work throughout the benefit period. You must not be facing any medical challenges to work during the benefit period
  • You must be available to work at all times. You must not be on a break or vacation when you apply for benefits
  • You must be looking actively for employment opportunities throughout the benefit period
  • You must not reject any job opportunities offered to you at any point during the benefit period
  • You must explain in detail your work search efforts while completing your online eligibility review
  • You must have contacted a minimum of three prospective employers each week

Find out on job search requirements

How To Apply For UI Benefits in Kentucky?

You can apply for UI benefits in Kentucky through the online portal or by placing a phone call to KCC. Before applying for benefits, you must make sure that you hold the following documents:

To apply for benefits, you may opt for one of the following options:


The preferred mode to apply for benefits in Kentucky is by the online portal. You may log in to and apply on the Internet Claims System from Monday to Friday- 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM, and on Sunday- 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM Eastern Time.
You can also make use of the following services using the online portal:

  • File unemployment claim
  • Request bi-weekly continued unemployment claim (benefit payment)
  • Complete your eligibility review
  • Reset your PIN
  • Change payment method
  • Change mailing address
  • Change email address


If you are unable to submit your application online, you may reach the KCC call center by placing a call. Reach the KCC call center on 502-875-0442. If in the event you are unable to complete your bi-weekly continued unemployment claim, reach out to KCC Voice Response Unit on 877-369-5984 for assistance.

Note – If you face any trouble while applying for benefits or have any queries, you can visit the Kentucky unemployment office or call customer service for assistance.

Learn how to claim weekly benefits

UI Benefit Amount

The Unemployment Insurance Benefits Calculator will assist you in figuring out the approximate UI Benefits amount that you may receive in the state of Kentucky.

Benefits Calculator

Use the calculator to find out how much weekly benefits you may approximately earn in the state of Kentucky.

Disclaimer: The estimates are good in faith and accuracy is not guaranteed. We are not liable for any loss and damages caused by using the tools on our website. This calculator is here to assist you in evaluating what you might obtain if you are entitled to receive benefits. We make no promises that the sum you receive will be equal to what the calculator illustrates.

Know more about the Benefits Calculator

Things To Know After Filing An Application

You are obligated to be informed about various rules and regulations applied to the UI benefits program. Claimants will have to face the consequences of non-adherence with any rules brought to the notice of KCC.

You should also know about all the opportunities provided by the KCC to help claimants so that they become more competent in the job market.

Overpayments and Fraud

The issue of overpayments is taken very seriously in Kentucky by taking serious actions to collect overpaid funds.

Non-Fraud Overpayment

There are ways and means in which you may receive an overpayment without your knowledge. You are mandated to pay back the excessive amount received to the department as soon as they receive a letter from the KCC informing them about the overpayment.

Some of the common reasons resulting in the occurrence of non-fraud overpayments are:

  • Overturning of appeals by the court judgments concerning UI benefit amount. You would be mandated to repay the excessive amount received if the court decides against your appeal
  • You have given any wrong information or the omitted crucial information because of an oversight

You must repay if any excess amount is received but may not be subjected to the penalties for non-fraud overpayments.

If you receive a notice to repay the excessive amount, you may pay the amount by logging in to Or call 502-564-2387 to reach the Overpayments of Benefits department to come up with your repayment plans.


A fraud overpayment occurs when you intentionally deceive the KCC by either withholding or forging crucial information to get the UI benefits. The state considers overpayment fraud as an offense, and it may lead to the prosecution of the claimant in court.

Some of the common examples of fraud overpayments are:

  • Claimant fails to report weekly earnings
  • Claimant fails to report earnings from part-time employment
  • Claimant fails to report any income or expected income such as holiday pay, bonuses, severance pay, tips, commissions, military retirement pay, etc
  • Claimant forges the weekly work search reports
  • Claimant withholds, forges, or willfully misinforms information about the wages earned during the base period

If you have been found guilty of fraud, you will have to pay the excessive amount back. You will be ineligible to receive future UI benefits until the dues are clear. The KCC will also levy the following penalties if you are guilty of fraud:

  • You will get disqualified from receiving UI benefits for up to 52 weeks
  • A penalty of 15 percent must be paid on all overpayments
  • You will be charged 1.5 percent of monthly interest on the principal amount
  • A lien will be filed against you, and it will not be released until the whole debt is paid
  • If you fail to repay the excessive amount, your state and federal income tax refunds will intercept as an offset towards your overpayment dues
  • You may be prosecuted by the court of law

Benefits Extension

The state offers benefits extension if there is an economic downturn or the unemployment rate is too high. Visit KCC to know more about benefits extension in Kentucky.

Job Training Assistance

The state of Kentucky provides ample opportunities to improve their skill set for better employment opportunities. Some of the training programs provided :

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act WIOA: The WIOA is a federally funded training program that provides various services such as on-the-job training, apprenticeships, worker training, and individual training account.

Under WIOA, various training programs are offered to people with various needs, and therefore the eligibility criteria vary as per the nature of the respective training programs. Some programs are designed for individuals between 14-21 years old, while some are designed for people who are 21 years and above.

Various training providers in the state of Kentucky can be found in the listing published in

Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA): Those who have lost their jobs due to foreign trade or outsourcing are eligible for TAA. This program is designed to help individuals gain competence and get back to work.

To avail of this service, a petition must be written to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Division of Trade Adjustment Assistance to seek certification under ‘workers affected by foreign trade’. If the petition is certified, then workers must apply for TAA services through their local Kentucky Career Center office.

Federal Pell Grants: Individuals who have enrolled for a bachelor’s degree or a training program are eligible for the Federal Pell Grants financial aid. The process of applying for this financial aid is simple, and it is also accepted in nearly all community colleges and universities. Contact your local KCC to find out more about the procedure to apply.

Know more job training opportunities in KY

Sours: is the leading website for info and assistance on getting Unemployment Insurance Benefits and PUA.FOR PARENTS: We recommend all parents enroll their kids to's Kids Education Enrichment Program (K.E.E.P) for children ages 5-17, an online supplemental program to Remote, Hybrid, and/or in-person learning, to help prevent them from falling behind on their education. For that purpose, we are making available a $15-off school voucher that can be used to purchase the lifetime membership. Use code "STIMULUS2021" Sign Up Here.
Notice: Make sure to maintain unemployment work search requirements compliance.

Unemployment Important Links

  • KEWES - Kentucky's Electronic Workplace for Employment Services:
  • Contact Information:

  • Phone: 502-875-0442 Monday through Friday between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Eastern Time
  • UI Assistance E-mail: [email protected]
  • Advice/Tips:

  • If you've received an initial denial for unemployment benefits, call your local legal aid organization. They are (1) the Legal Aid Society ( for Louisville and nearby counties; (2) Legal Aid of the Bluegrass ( for the Lexington area (but note Madison and some other counties east of Fayette are with AppalReD Legal Aid) plus Northern Kentucky and Northeastern Kentucky; (3) AppalReD Legal Aid ( for Eastern Kentucky and South Central Kentucky, and; (4) Kentucky Legal Aid ( for Western Kentucky
    With Unemployment extended through September and people remaining on Unemployment Benefits program for the long run, we strongly urge everyone who has not done so yet to enroll now in our Work Search Requirements programto maintain compliance with job search requirements: Bill includes additional funds for audits and fraud prevention, and state unemployment agencies are always looking for reasons to take their money back.
    Join everybody else who is taking advantage of our special online program to safely maintain their work search requirements. Our program allows maintaining job search requirements by taking online career workshops. Digital certificates generated instantly after completing each workshop, which you can download for your records, and they are also backed up on our servers. Join today and remain in compliance with works search requirements before it is too late!

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    Kentucky unemployment website will require users to make a new account. Here's what to do

    In an attempt to stem a wave of fraudulent activity aimed at stealing jobless benefits, Kentucky's unemployment office is making all active claimants re-register their online accounts using more complex passwords.

    Cyber criminals are using compromised personal information, such as Social Security numbers, and are taking advantage of simple PINs to hack into unemployment accounts and divert payments. 

    Kentuckians recently reported their personal identification numbers, used to access their online accounts, had been changed without their knowledge. Some also reported their banking information had been altered. 

    On April 9, the state took the sweeping step of shutting down the website Kentuckians use to file new claims and request benefits. The site came back online at 7 a.m. EST Tuesday.

    Earlier:In sweeping step to stop fraud, Kentucky to shut down unemployment system to fix problems

    Amy Cubbage, Gov. Andy Beshear's general counsel, said last week that officials were still assessing how many current benefit recipients have been affected. 

    The state has set up a call center to help people re-register and is also mailing people information needed to set up a more secure account. 

    Here's what else benefit recipients need to know about the increased security measures: 

    What do I have to do?

    All current benefit recipients will need to register again (or, in some cases, for the first time) on the state’s unemployment website. The state is making people re-register and create more complex passwords to better combat fraud.

    Even those who recently created an account on the state's new public-facing claimant portal that launched in mid-March will need to go through this new registration process. Here's how:   

    • Log on to or visit the unemployment homepage,, to start the registration process.
    • Create a new 12-character password using a mix of letters, numbers and special characters, such as a question or exclamation mark. 
    • Claimants will need an email account. They will need to verify the email address using a process called two-factor authentication. The state will send a code to the email address (you may need to check your spam or junk folder), which claimants will then need to enter during the re-registration process. The state warns that the use of the same email for multiple claims (such as a couple sharing one email) may cause problems with the state's new security features. 
    • Use the new eight-digit PIN included in the letter that the state has mailed out.  
    • Once successfully re-registered, review all your information and ensure it’s correct.
    • A detailed, step-by-step guide to re-registering can be found at and on the Kentucky Career Center's YouTube page. 

    What is the state mailing me?

    Starting April 9, the Office of Unemployment Insurance began mailing paper letters to all active claimants. This letter contains a new eight-digit PIN that people will need to use when creating their new account.

    However, Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday afternoon that “the majority” of recipients would not have received their letters by the time the online portal reopened Tuesday.

    As of Monday, 100,000 were mailed. Remaining letters were to be mailed Tuesday, Cubbage said. 

    What if I don’t get a letter in the mail?

    The state is dedicating up to 150 workers to staff a call center focused solely on helping people re-register for an online unemployment account.

    People can call 502-564-2900 between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. EST starting April 13. Beshear said the call center will operate for 10 days.

    Account information changed:Kentucky warns unemployment filers to double-check payment info after reports of hacking

    These workers will not be able to help callers with any other unemployment-related questions or issues.

    What if I can't get through to the call center? 

    Beshear warned of long hold times and noted that the call center will only have 50 people answering calls during the first and last hour of the day.

    The governor asked those who aren't due to request benefits this week to hold off on using the call center and instead wait for their letter to arrive in the mail. 

    Once your letter arrives with your new PIN, you can complete the process. 

    I received a letter but never filed for unemployment. What do I do?

    Those who receive a letter with a new PIN but have never sought unemployment benefits may have had a claim opened fraudulently in their name.

    Since the start of the pandemic, fraudsters have filed real claims on behalf of real people in multiple states using stolen personal information in an attempt to obtain the unemployment pay. 

    More on fraud:Kentucky unemployment system gets just what it didn't need — more fraud

    The state encourages people who suspect fraud to report it to the unemployment office using a form on its website, Click on the yellow button by "Unemployment Insurance Fraud." The site also gives advice and tips for identity theft victims. 

    What if I was supposed to request payment while the website was down?

    While the state has not issued specific advice for those who weren’t able to request payment when the unemployment system was taken offline, Cubbage said April 8 that "no one will lose out on their chance to request those weeks of benefits."

    For those who had to wait to file a new claim, unemployment workers will be able to backdate any new initial claims.

    Will I have to refile my claim?

    No, do not open a new claim. The new security requirements are to create a new online account, not a new benefit claim.

    The state’s computer system will recognize the new registration and link it to existing claims, state officials say.

    What if my direct deposit banking information is incorrect? 

    Due to fraud, the state has temporarily prevented people from changing their bank account information in their unemployment accounts. 

    When going through the re-registration process, if you notice your banking details are incorrect, request your payment to be sent via paper check and make sure your mailing address on file with the state is correct. 

    Why did the UI system shut down for four days?

    The public-facing online unemployment system was taken offline from April 9 to the morning of April 13 to give the state time "to enhance the security of the system."

    Following news reports the week of April 4 about claimants having personal information changed without their knowledge, the state said April 2 the instances were "isolated" and that it would temporarily prevent people from changing their bank account information. 

    While benefit recipients were not able to access their accounts, employees in the state’s unemployment office were able to continue working. 

    By April 8, the state said the PINs of about 300,000 accounts were reset, though the majority of those were not active claims. 

    A much smaller number of people, closer to 25,000, are currently drawing benefits, Cubbage said. 

    Who is behind the fraud activity?

    Kentucky officials said last week they don’t know the source but suspect the “sophisticated attack” is the work of “criminal individuals or enterprises" that might originate from outside the United States. 

    Many states have been hit with fraud. 

    An estimated $89 billion may have been paid improperly in the U.S. since the start of the pandemic, with a “significant portion” connected to fraud, according to a March update from the Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Labor. 

    Kansas shut down its system in January for a few days to implement new anti-fraud measures. Illinois residents have reported changed banking information for months. In January, California officials said more than $11 billion in benefits had been paid on fraudulent claims.

    Ohio has also reported a spike in fraudulent claim activity this year.  

    How is the account hacking happening?

    Cybercriminals are using automated programs to guess claimants’ four-digit PINs, Kentucky officials said. Simple and easy-to-guess PINs, such as 1234, make it easier for scammers to gain access to accounts.

    Scammers also use compromised Social Security numbers and other personal information to gain access to accounts.

    Kentucky officials say such personal information wasn’t stolen in a data breach of the state’s unemployment system but rather was compromised in other breaches, such as those by private businesses. 

    This stolen personal information is then sold and bought online and can be misused by criminals. 

    I need help with a different unemployment issue. What can I do?

    With phone lines jammed and email inboxes flooded, your best bet for getting help is to schedule a one-on-one appointment. 

    The state will resume in-person unemployment appointments April 15. 

    Thirteen Kentucky Career Centers across the state are reopening that day for unemployment claim help, by appointment only. Officials have told the public not to show up at these centers without an appointment, as they won't be helped.

    • You must wear a mask at all times during the appointment.
    • Citing the ongoing pandemic, the state asks people to stay in their vehicle until five minutes before their appointment.
    • Bring a photo ID.
    • Temperatures will be taken at the door.

    Scheduling began April 7. Within one day, people made 9,500 appointments for April 15-30. As of Tuesday, no appointments were available.

    Where are the offices reopening?:Kentucky regional unemployment offices opening this month for in-person appointments

    At midnight April 19, the state will open appointments for May 3. Each day after, a new day's worth of appointments will be made available online.

    Appointments are being offered in: Ashland, Bowling Green, Covington, Elizabethtown, Hazard, Hopkinsville, Lexington, Louisville, Morehead, Owensboro, Paducah, Prestonsburg and Somerset. 

    It's possible that your issue won't get immediately or fully fixed at your appointment. There may be paperwork to fill out and process or UI workers may need more time to resolve your claim's issue, according to the state. 

    Reporter Matthew Glowicki can be reached at [email protected], 502-582-4989 or on Twitter @mattglo. 

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