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Two years later, first wave of unemployment checks are arriving for Rex Burton

“Seems like disconnection from office to office, and misinformation,” Rex Burton complained.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — May of 2020.

That’s when Rex Burton, 39, says he applied for Kentucky unemployment after his delivery company shut down at the beginning of the pandemic.

Over the better part of the next two years, nothing.

No payments, no communication and no idea what happened to his claim.

So recently, Burton reached out to FOCUS for help.

We suggested that he book a phone appointment, which he did on March 22 with the Kentucky Career Center in Bowling Green.

During that 15-minute conversation, the specialist acknowledged that mistakes were made on unemployment’s end and that he needed to speak with his supervisor. Later via email, he told Burton that payments would be released.

All Burton had to do was re-register with the online system, which required him to get a state-issued photo ID.

However, when he went to the Hurstbourne driver’s license office on March 24, he was denied. He said the explanation for the denial was due to his driver’s license being suspended.

RELATED: Kentucky woman unable to pay for son's college tuition due to unpaid unemployment benefits

That actually broke Kentucky law, of which FOCUS informed the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

KRS 186.4122, clearly states in Section (8) (b) “If a person’s instruction permit or operator’s license has been suspended or revoked, the person may be issued a personal identification card.”

“It took me two whole days arguing with them, calling Frankfort,” Burton said. Finally, he was issued the ID, and later his driver’s license was reinstated.

After re-registering, Burton’s emails to the Bowling Green office were never answered, so he booked another phone appointment on April 7 with the Hazard office.

He says the specialist there told him his claim was rejected and refused to allow him to speak with a supervisor.

Burton pointed out his previous conversation with the Bowling Green specialist, to which he said her response was that there was no record of that.

RELATED: FOCUS helps Louisville man save his home, get a job

“Seems like disconnection from office to office, and misinformation,” he complained.

Refusing to give up, Burton booked another appointment with Bowling Green, this time an in-person one, exactly a week later on April 14.

The two-hour drive each way was worth it.

The first wave of checks, eight of them, came in this week at $494 apiece.

Thousands more dollars have followed, and according to his math, he expects the total payout in traditional and pandemic unemployment benefits will be a whopping $48,000.

Worth the headaches, that’s debatable, but now that the payments are coming, Burton is warming up to it being worth the wait.

His advice to the many others still waiting, which according to the Kentucky Labor Cabinet was still around 96,000 claims as of April 6, is to keep pushing for resolution.

“If you’ve given up, try again, keep trying, and don’t stop because they owe you the money.”

To book either an in-person or a phone appointment at any of Kentucky’s regional unemployment offices, click here.

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