Beshear urges unemployed to rejoin workforce before benefits end 

Published 11:36 am Wednesday, August 4, 2021

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FRANKFORT, Ky. – Gov. Andy Beshear is encouraging Kentuckians who are drawing federal pandemic unemployment insurance benefits to rejoin the workforce before those programs expire in a little over a month.

“With a surging economy and job opportunities available throughout the Commonwealth, there isn’t a valid reason why any Kentuckian who wants a job shouldn’t be able to find one,” Beshear said.

Federal pandemic unemployment insurance benefit programs expire nationwide on Sept. 6, so unemployment insurance claimants in Kentucky will no longer be able to claim benefits from four programs after that date.

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–Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, or FPUC, which has been providing an additional $300 weekly payment to recipients of unemployment compensation.

–Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, also known as PUA, which has provided benefits for those who would not usually qualify, including the self-employed, gig workers and part-time workers.

–Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation or PEUC, which allows for an extension of benefits once regular benefits have been exhausted.

–Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation, also called MEUC, which has been an additional $100 benefit to certain people with mixed earnings.

Claimants participating in those programs will receive an email from the Kentucky Office of Unemployment Insurance saying those benefit programs are ending.  If claimants are waiting to receive an eligibility determination for any of these four federal programs, OUI will ensure that they receive payments owed to them for all weeks before September 6 for which they are determined eligible.

Beshear also noted that even if Congress extends the programs beyond Sept. 6, Kentucky will not participate.

Choosing not to end pandemic unemployment benefits prematurely has helped Kentuckians who lack access to childcare at a time when students can’t be in school during summer months, the Governor said.  He also said that those benefits have continued to pump $34 million each week into grocery stores, restaurants and retail establishments in communities across the state.

“I have spoken many times about how we were not going to steer our recovery on a red or blue state solution but instead how we could ‘thread the needle’ just right to find the right solution to help the citizens of this state and our economy,” the Governor said.

That solution includes a back to work incentive announced by the Governor in June. Those who return to work by the July 30 deadline, can qualify for a $1,500 Back-to-Work incentive.  That bonus will pay the first 15,000 qualifying UI claimants who return to work between June 24 and July 30 a one-time taxable stipend of $1,500 if they meet all eligibility requirements.

The Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet will begin accepting applications for the incentive program beginning Aug. 2.  The last day to apply will be Oct. 1, 2021, if there haven’t been 15,000 qualifying claimants by then.  For more information, you can visit the Team Kentucky Back to Work website.