How Long Do You Need to Be Employed in Kentucky to Be Eligible for Unemployment?

The state of Kentucky's unemployment compensation system is entirely employer-funded. Employers pay into the system, and if they let people go without cause, a portion of the benefits paid out is charged against them. For this reason, Kentucky employers occasionally contest unemployment claims. Qualifying for benefits is not a sure thing in Kentucky. The state unemployment compensation office requires that workers meet certain criteria to qualify.


Base Period Computation

Kentucky computes unemployment benefits based on your wages during a "base period," which consists of the first four quarters of the last five complete calendar quarters in your employment history. For example, if you lost your job and make a claim effective during the first quarter of the year, your base period starts on Oct. 1, two years prior, and ends one year later.


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Wage Eligibility

To qualify for unemployment compensation in Kentucky, you must show a track record of wages in covered employment. Specifically, you must have earned at least $750 in at least one of the quarters during the base period. You must also show total wages during the base period of at least 150 percent of the wages in your highest-earning quarter. Your total wages outside the highest earning quarter must be at least $750. Finally, the wages you earned in the last two quarters must total at least eight times your usual weekly earnings.



You may be ineligible for unemployment benefits if you are not available for work, not looking for work, or you decline suitable employment. You may also lose eligibility if you are let go for misconduct, you are involved in a strike, you have a medical condition, or your immigration status prohibits you from working.



While unemployed and receiving benefits, your maximum weekly benefit is 1.3078 percent of your total wages during the base period but not less than $39 per week. If you worked consistently for the full year during the first four quarters of your base period, you would receive 68 percent of your prior weekly earnings. The maximum weekly unemployment benefit, however, is $415 per week.


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