Kentucky Unemployment

Unemployed? We want to help.

Get Started

Unemployment Benefits Eligibility

General Benefits Eligibility Criteria

The Kentucky Office of Employment and Training requires a process for gauging your eligibility. This is done automatically when you apply for unemployment benefits, and you must pass a series of criteria. Understanding these criteria will help you better understand your chances of receiving unemployment insurance benefits. Applying for unemployment benefits online or in person is the best way to know for sure about your eligibility.

Work Eligibility Criteria

To meet the work eligibility criteria for Kentucky unemployment insurance benefits, you must:

  • Be available and physically able to work full time
  • Register for work at the Kentucky Career Center site
  • Be ready to register at Focus Career
  • Complete each required field in Focus Career
  • Respond in a timely way to job openings, referrals, job interviews, and contacts as suggested by the Kentucky Career Center
  • Capable of seeking employment on your own and to accept a suitable job when offered
  • Able to prove you worked the last 12 to 18 months during your base period  

Failure to meet these criteria will disqualify you from receiving benefits. However, if you do meet these criteria, you will then have to pass the wages eligibility criteria below to qualify for unemployment insurance benefits.

Wages Eligibility Criteria

The wages criteria for Kentucky unemployment insurance are fairly easy to understand. They require calculating wages in your base period. The base period is the first four quarters of the last five quarter periods starting from the day you filed your claim.

Quarters are three-month periods from January to December. They include January through March, April through June, July through September, and October through December.

Your base period may not start in January. For example, if you filed your claim in October, the last completed quarter (July through September) is not included, so your base period would include July through December of the previous year and January through June of the current year.

To gauge your eligibility based on this base period, you must meet these criteria:

  • Wages of at least $750 in one quarter
  • Total yearly wages during the base period must be at least one and a half times the highest quarter wages
  • Wages outside of highest quarter must be at least $750.
  • The wages in the last two quarters of the base period must be eight times your benefit rate

Unemployed? We want to help.

Unemployment Availability Limits

Your unemployment benefits will be limited or cancelled if you:

  • Are unavailable or unable to search for work without a good reason
  • Fail to make three job contacts in a week
  • Accept a full-time job
  • Refuse appropriate full-time work without good cause
  • Move without informing unemployment officials or failing to look for work in the area
  • Work a part-time job

You won't lose your benefits if you are working part-time or reduced hours. You are eligible for unemployment insurance benefits as long as you earn less than one and one-quarter of your weekly benefit rate. In this instance, you will lose 80 percent of the funds you earned in wages.

EXAMPLE: If you receive $400 in a Weekly Benefit Amount and earn $115 in wages during a claim week, multiply $115 by 0.80 and subtract that amount ($92) from your usual weekly benefit amount ($400-$92). You will receive $308 in weekly benefits for that claim week.

Unemployment Extensions

Although Kentucky unemployment insurance benefits were extended during the recession that started in 2008, these extended benefits were federally-funded and discontinued in 2013. Unemployment insurance benefit extensions become available when unemployment rates drop below an average rate for the state of Kentucky.