FAQ - Unemployment Insurance

Q: What is the "Waiting Week"?
A: Due to recent changes in the Unemployment Insurance law you must now serve a one week waiting period per Benefit Year. Your waiting week will always be your first payable week. You will request benefits for a two week period. If you are otherwise eligible, the amount of your first check will only be for one week. Your maximum benefit amount will not change.

Q: What is the current UI benefit rate range?
A: $39.00 minimum to $415.00 maximum per week.

Q: How is the UI tax rate figured for my company?
A: While there are many variables in tax rate computation, simply put it is the amount of taxes paid into a reserve account for each employer, minus the amount of benefits paid. However, tax rates are not based solely on the reserve account balance. Instead a reserve ratio is computed which compares the size of the balance to the size of the total amount of taxable wages reported by the employer during the twelve (12) calendar quarters preceding the computation date. The rate is determined from a rate schedule set forth in statute and available on our web site. Employers in the mining and construction industry may have higher rates in spite of the reserve ratio and account balance.

Q: Can a person draw UI if they quit?
A: Assuming the claimant has sufficient wage credits to establish a claim, he or she may be qualified to receive benefits if they voluntarily left their employment with good cause attributable to the employment and there are no other eligibility issues present.

Q: Can a person draw UI if they are fired?
A: Assuming the claimant has sufficient wage credits to establish a claim, he or she may be qualified to receive benefits if they were discharged for reasons other than misconduct connected with the work and there are no other eligibility issues present.

Q: How can a person draw UI from me when they were fired from another employer?
A: If you are the most recent ten (10) week employer on the claim and the worker left your employment under non-disqualifying conditions or you failed to file a timely protest to the initial claim for benefits, then you may be charged for the benefits.

Q: How can this person file for UI when there are help wanted signs everywhere?
A: An otherwise eligible claimant is entitled to receive benefits, unless he or she is unable to perform suitable work; is unavailable for suitable work or has refused suitable work. In part, suitable work is determined by examining the degree of risk involved to the worker’s health, safety and morals; the worker’s experience and prior earnings; the length of the unemployment and prospects of securing local work in the customary occupation and the distance of the work from the worker’s residence. Simply because there are plenty of available jobs, does not mean that they are suitable for each claimant.

Q: How long and how much money can a person draw in UI benefits?
A: The maximum amount of benefits payable to any worker within any benefit year shall be the amount equal to whichever is the lesser of:
(a) Twenty-six (26) times his weekly benefit rate; or
(b) One-third (1/3) of his base-period wages, except that no worker's maximum amount shall be less than fifteen (15) times his weekly benefit rate.

Q: If I fire an employee for absenteeism is he or she eligible for UI benefits?
A: If an employee’s absences amount to misconduct connected with the work, they will be disqualified. Generally, good cause for missing work, is not misconduct. Simple numbers of days or percentages of lost time cannot show a worker is guilty of misconduct.

Q: What do I do if I want to contest a claim?
A: You should file a written protest setting forth the reasons for separation, and do so within ten (10) days from the date the claim was filed.

Q: What do I do if I don’t want to contest a claim?
A: You do not have to do anything. A lack of response suggests that you do not wish to protest. However, if an employee is separated for reasons other than lack of work, the agency still has the responsibility to investigate and determine if the separation was for disqualifying or non disqualifying reasons.

Q: Where can I get the UI tax ID number?
A: Contact us by clicking here to apply online, by email at des.uit@ky.gov or by postal mail at the Division of Unemployment Insurance Status Branch. P. O. Box 948, Frankfort KY 40602

Q: Why do you need the tax ID number?
A: So that the Division of Unemployment Insurance can accurately credit tax payments to your account and keep track of payments charged to your account.

Q: How does the Automated Benefits Exchange System (ABE) work?
A: The ABE System, often referred to as the VRU, uses a touch-tone telephone to allow a claimant to claim their weeks or request the status of their last week claimed. Week Claiming is available on Sunday from 2:00 PM until 9:00 PM Eastern time and Monday - Friday from 7:00 AM until 7:00 PM Eastern time. The Last Week Claimed Inquiry is available Tuesday through Friday from 7:00 AM until 7:00 PM Eastern time. This system offers the claimant the availability of a faster payment. In about the same amount of time it takes a claimant to fill out their pay order card, address it, and take it to the mailbox, they can enter their weeks for payment over the telephone. It’s that simple and that fast! The system is easy to use. It will talk them through the step-by-step process. In most cases, a claimant will have three (3) attempts to enter the correct information.

Q: What is the difference in how UI works here and other states?
A: While each state’s laws may differ somewhat, they are usually very similar. All states must conform to basic principles set forth in federal regulation.

Q: May I participate in a hearing in person (not over phone)?
A: Yes, if the situation warrants an in person hearing. Some of the factors used to determine this are the number of witnesses to testify; the complexity of the issue; and the distance that the participants have to travel.

Q: How do I report new hires?
A: You may mail your new hire report to:
The Kentucky New Hire Reporting Center
P.O. Box 1130
Richmond, VA 23218-1130

Fax reports to: 1-800-817-0099 or 1-804-771-1908
You may call the Kentucky New Hire Reporting Center at 1-800-817-2262 or 1-804-771-9602 for any questions regarding the new hire law. Help Desk staff are available Monday through Friday from 8:00am - 5:00pm EST.