If You are Unemployed

Getting started

Step 1: Register in Focus Career.

This will help you find your next job.
If you’re ready to search for a job or build a resume right now, go to Focus Career.

Are you prepared?

Before you dive in to the job listings, however, ask yourself if you’re prepared. If your last job was doing something that is less in-demand than it once was, maybe you should explore another line of work. Perhaps you have interests and skills that go beyond what your last job required. Maybe you need more education or more training to land that dream job. Maybe you’ve been out of the job market for a while and need some guidance on where to turn.

The Kentucky Career Center can help. We offer a long list of services aimed at moving your career to the next level.

What does Focus Career offer?

If you are unemployed or looking for a new career opportunity Focus Career provides both a professional resume builder and a path to job registration.

Features allow you to:

  • build a professional resume easily, using the interview wizard;
  • find job leads instantly that match your skills and transferable abilities;
  • schedule job alerts daily or weekly to your inbox; and
  • explore career options and paths to reach your education and employment goals.

Set up to five job alerts to search for specific types of positions. These alerts are delivered to your inbox daily or weekly. Focus Career​ uses artificial intelligence to match your skills to jobs and rank them with one to five stars, showing how well you qualify for a position.

Need help with Focus Career?

If you need immediate assistance, contact: KentuckyCareerCenterSupport@ky.gov
or call 502-564-0871, Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., EST.

Step 2: File your initial unemployment claim or access your existing claim.

This will get you into the system to receive unemployment benefits.
Unemployment Insurance Services

You might qualify for unemployment benefits if you lost your job through no fault of your own. You must register for work when you file your claim and actively seek a new job.

You can apply by calling 502-875-0442
     Monday - Friday 7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., EST

Website: Monday - Friday from 7 a.m. - 7 p.m., EST
     Sunday from 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. EST

You may also call toll-free 800-648-6057 for telecommunications relay service.

Instructional videos:

   Watch our video to learn how to apply for benefits.

   Watch a video from U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis on receiving employment benefits.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please be aware of fake unemployment filing websites designed to steal your personal information or charge you a fee.

       Make sure you are on a “.gov” site when filing an unemployment insurance claim.

       KCC services are free.

       KCC will never charge a fee.

       KCC will never ask for your SSN in an email.


Unemployment Insurance Fraud
You are responsible for the accuracy of all of your answers. KRS 341.990 (5) Any person who knowingly makes a false statement or representation of a material fact or knowingly fails to disclose a material fact to the secretary to obtain or increase any benefit under this chapter or under an employment security law of any other state, or of the federal government, either for himself or for any other person, business entity, or organization shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor unless the value of the benefits procured or attempted to be procured is one hundred dollars ($100) or more, in which case he will be guilty of a Class D felony.

Unemployment insurance and your taxes
Unemployment insurance benefits are considered taxable income by the Internal Revenue Service and the Kentucky Department of Revenue.

You may choose to have 10 percent of your benefits withheld for federal taxes and/or 4 percent for Kentucky state taxes. (Just remember, you can only change this withholding once throughout the life of the claim.)

Not everyone is approved for unemployment
Not everyone who applies for unemployment insurance is approved. Possible reasons for denial could include some common reasons below and require an investigation:
  • you lost your job because of misconduct;
  • you quit your job without good cause attributable to the employment;
  • you are unable to work;
  • you have a medical condition that prevents you from working;
  • you don't have reliable transportation;
  • you don’t have someone to care for your children while you work;
  • you’re not a U.S. citizen and are prohibited from working;
  • you have unreasonably limited the wages you’ll accept, the hours or days you will work, where you will work or the jobs you will accept;
  • you are self-employed or own your own business;
  • you’re attending school without prior approval from us, or
  • you’re a school worker between terms.

Your right to appeal if you are denied
If your benefits are denied and you wish to contest it you can file an appeal in writing. Your letter of appeal must be postmarked within 15 days of the mail date of your denial. Full details are available here​.

If you have specific questions about the unemployment insurance appeals process, please contact your local career center or 502-564-3925.

We’ve also produced two videos to help explain the appeals process.
Watch our video on how to file an appeal.
Watch a separate video showing what to expect in an appeals hearing.

Did you get laid-off?

Rapid response for dislocated workers is an early-intervention service offered to assist businesses and workers affected by layoffs and plant closings.

The local career center offices operate the rapid response team. This team is trained to react quickly to announcements concerning permanent facility closures or substantial layoff situations throughout the state. Rapid response works closely with the local workforce investment boards and the local elected officials in adversely affected areas to insure that dislocated workers receive program information and services – including applying for unemployment insurance and looking for a new job. Rapid response services are offered at no cost to the business or the participating employees.

The federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, or WARN, requires employers to provide written notice at least 60 calendar days in advance of covered plant closings and mass layoffs. This assures that assistance can be provided to affected workers, their families and the appropriate communities.
Click here for more information about WARN.

For more information contact your local career center office.

Step 3: If you need hands-on help

Whatever your needs are, our Kentucky Career Center offices have everything you need to get started: computers with internet access, resume-preparation software, printers, telephones, copiers, fax machines, tutorials and access to job listings. And they’re all available for free.
The services we offer job seekers are:
  • filing unemployment claims over the internet;
  • registering yourself as a job seeker;
  • counseling, assistive technology and other services for people with disabilities (see our Vocational Services for more information);
  • assistance on preparing a resume and interviewing;
  • resources to help you identify interests and skills;
  • computer skills training;
  • skill level testing in typing, data entry, 10-key, spelling, grammar and math; and 
  • self-directed or staff-assisted job search within statewide and national job listings​​.
Training for a better job
You might benefit from training to learn new skills or to reinforce skills that have gotten a little rusty. The federal Workforce Investment Act of 1998 provides worker training, on-the-job training, work experience, apprenticeships, and Individual Training Accounts. 
Training is usually offered through community and technical colleges, universities, private for profit organizations, and businesses. Through a variety of training programs, WIA helps eligible individuals find self-sustaining employment.
Keep your edge – through training​

Labor market information
Is your work experience outdated? You might be the best typewriter repairman or switchboard operator in town, but those jobs are obsolete today! The Kentucky Career Center keeps track of which jobs are hot and which ones are not – and many other facts and statistics that will put some focus on your job picture.
For in-depth labor market information around the nation, around the state, or specific to your county, visit www.kylmi.ky.gov .
Here you can discover which jobs tend to be available in your immediate area – and in other areas too. You can also compare economic conditions in one area to those in another. You can explore the types of skills required at certain jobs, what those jobs pay, where to obtain education and training you might need, and much more.

Special service for veterans
Veterans are very important to the Kentucky Career Center. KCC has a full suite of services geared toward military veterans to help with job training, job placement and much more.
See our Veterans Express page for more information.

Other useful links:

Rights and Responsibilities

Rights and Responsibilities - Spanish​

   Weekly Unemployment Insurance Benefits Calculator

   How to claim benefits by phone

 Unemployment Insurance Digest

   Unemployment Insurance Compensation Law

   Unemployment Insurance Legislative Regulations


Kentucky Office of Employment and Training
275 East Main St., 2WB
Frankfort, KY 40601
502-564-5331 phone
502-564-7452 fax
Kentucky Relay Service (for hearing-impaired) 
800-648-6057 phone ​