A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Beshear announces new help for state’s unemployed; 170 new virus cases, six new deaths reported


By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

Gov. Andy Beshear said there were 170 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday along with six more deaths and he announced new help for Kentucky’s unemployed who have not received their benefits.

The total number of COVID-19 cases now stands at 12,995, while 518 Kentuckians have lost their lives to the disease, since the first case was confirmed on March 6. Four of today’s deaths were in Jefferson County, with one each in Fayette and Clay counties.

During a press briefing held at the Kentucky History Center, the Governor said over 1,100 Kentuckians who have not received their unemployment benefits for one reason or another, waited in line outside the Capitol Education Center on Tuesday and Wednesday to be seen by an adjudicator, but that the venue will change on Thursday.

Gov. Andy Beshear reported 170 new cases of coronavirus and six more deaths on Wednesday. (Kentucky Today/Tom Latek)

“To continue helping Kentuckians with their unemployment insurance claims,” he said, “UI is going to provide in-person services here in Frankfort on Thursday, June 18, and Friday, June 19, from 9 a. m. to 6 p. m., [EDT] at the Cabinet for Health and Family Services headquarters, located at 275 East Main. We are going to double the number of people we’ve had to help the past two days, for the next two days.”

Beshear said they were going to establish priority lines at the CHFS Building. “Thursday, there is going to be a separate and distinct line for anyone who filed in March and hasn’t been helped. We want to make sure you get through during that day and there is going to be dedicated folks to help you out. The other line will be for those claiming benefits for April, May and June.”

On Friday, Beshear said there would be a dedicated line for March and April claimants, and the second line for May and June.

Next week, he says he hopes to get UI adjudicators out in communities across the state, “Whether it’s moving as one large group or separating out with the ability for more people to get their claims addressed.”

Visit kcc.ky.gov and click the “In-Person UI Services” button for up to date information on locations next week.

Beshear says they are going to continue working to improve the process, including looking at outside vendors that may be able to come in and help them catch up on a short-term basis.

“Going forward we’re going to have to have a new system. The electronic system is so old that it was incredibly difficult, especially at the start when unemployment laws changed.”

Earlier this week he said that since the coronavirus pandemic began, 167,420 people filed for unemployment in March, and 7,566 are still unresolved. April saw 429,056 filings with 27,507 contested. May had 295,879 people seeking unemployment benefits, 17,619 of whom are still waiting for their first check. The three-month total is 892,355 filers and 52,684, who have not received benefits.

Beshear also introduced Marta Miranda-Straub as the new cmmissioner of the CHFS Department for Community Based Services, effective July 1. The position had been vacant since Beshear took office six months ago.

In an appearance during the briefing, Miranda-Straub said, “This is a position worth coming out of retirement for.

He said her 40 years’ experience in organizational and clinical social work practice and her passion to serve are just part of her multi-layered background for her new leadership position.

DCBS oversees many areas of service, including child/adult protective services, adoption and foster care, food stamps and Medicaid.

Beshear also announced that he would reinstate a state health benefits exchange, starting January 1, 2022, similar to Kynect, which his father, former Governor Steve Beshear, instituted in 2013 under the Affordable Care Act, and former Gov. Matt Bevin dismantled in 2017.

“Through Kynect, approximately 500,000 newly eligible Kentuckians were enrolled in Medicaid coverage and qualified health plans,” Gov. Andy Beshear stated. “Kynext was one of the most successful exchanges in the country, and because of it, we reduced our uninsured Kentuckians at the highest rate in the country, for several straight years.”

He said Kentucky currently pays the federal government $9.8 million per year to administer the state’s health system, and after a one-time expense of $5 million to upgrade the state’s system, the cost will be down to $1-2 million per year.

The long lead time is to go through the federal approval process as well as upgrading the system in the state.


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