Legislative leaders direct LRC staff to assist with unemployment benefits backlog

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers and House Speaker David Osborne have instructed Legislative Research Commission (LRC) Director Jay D. Hartz to arrange for legislative staff members to assist in reducing the state’s backlog of unemployment insurance applications.

The authorization from legislative leaders will allow LRC staff to start working with the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet to process information needed to file unemployment insurance claims.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has everyone looking for ways to help,” said Stivers, R-Manchester. “One priority is to get financial assistance to people across Kentucky who currently aren’t working due to business closings and the economic fallout of COVID-19. Legislative staff members are ready to assist with processing the state’s record number of unemployment insurance claims.”

“Seven weeks into this shutdown, we are still hearing from constituents across the state about difficulties getting through to a live operator. They’re calling us concerned that they won’t be able to pay their bills or provide for their families. We understand that this system was not designed to handle so many calls and applications. Our LRC staff have a great deal of institutional knowledge and help our constituents all the time. If they can help make unemployment benefits more accessible, we appreciate their willingness to step up,” said Osborne, R-Prospect.

Hartz said his agency is currently working with the cabinet to set up training that will allow LRC staff members to begin assisting with unemployment insurance applications.