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Needed changes are coming to Kentucky's antiquated unemployment system

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The pandemic caused a backlog in unemployment claims across the country. It was no different here in Kentucky, where thousands of people waited months for needed funds and some say they are still waiting.

During his Team Kentucky press briefing on Thursday, Governor Andy Beshear announced four initiatives for unemployment that he believes can fix the problems that have been decades in the making. A new system will replace the current one, which Beshear said has coding created before he was born. He also wants regular upgrades of the system in the long term plan.

Next, Beshear said filing changes dealing with identification will help weed out fraudulent claims from actual claims.

“To file your claim now and to be in the system, you have to prove that you are a real person first, and not us try to pursue fraudulent claims and say where are your ID’s?” Beshear said, “By doing this we fared out those tens of thousands. We make it more likely that every single one comes in is a real claim. It doesn’t mean it will qualify.”

The Governor also plans to propose funding for sufficient and permanent staff for the department, which was cut by 90 in the years leading up to his administration.

And the Education and Labor Cabinets will be merged. Beshear said this will make it easier for the state to apply for federal grants and to get out accurate information to federal agencies. The merger will also create the ability to cross train employees for multiple tasks if needed.