FRANKFORT — The number of Kentucky residents filing for unemployment benefits surged in the past week as many businesses closed or scaled back due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A total of 48,847 Kentucky residents applied for unemployment assistance last week, reflecting the dramatic economic disruption caused by the virus, the U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday. In the prior week, 2,785 claims were filed in Kentucky.
In response to the influx of people seeking unemployment benefits, the state recently started new filing procedures and opened new local office phone lines.
Kentuckians seeking unemployment benefits are asked to follow a schedule aimed at spreading out claims filings. The day people can file claims is based on the first initial in their last names.
Meanwhile, federal and state law enforcement agencies are forming a coronavirus task force to investigate and prosecute fraud cases. The task force is a partnership of U.S. Attorneys, the FBI and Kentucky’s Attorney General.
“We will not allow thieves to profit from fear,” western district U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman said.
The task force will review and investigate credible leads of fraud associated with the coronavirus pandemic, including fake cures, medical supply scams and charity scams.