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

April Ratchford, an occupational therapist, said her payments stopped in March and the state owes her more than $20,000.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — As Kentucky gets back to work more and more, there are still those who now have a job, but are still owed unemployment benefits.

April Ratchford, 45, an occupational therapist, said she had been receiving payments until March when they suddenly stopped. She couldn’t find out what the holdup was on the well over $20,000 she said she’s owed.

“No letter, no nothing, you’re just in the dark,” Ratchford said. “I just need an answer, like, is there anything else I need to do to prove that I’m me?”

As it stands, however, her identification has been verified through the commonwealth’s IDme software.

While the online Unemployment Insurance portal shows “no issue,” it also shows that her claim is “under fact-finding.”

Why, is the question she said she can’t get through to anyone to answer.

“None of it makes sense,” Ratchford said.

The unemployment money she’s owed would help her catch up on bills, she said, and get her son, Ahzerei, back in classes at Eastern Kentucky University next semester.

Ratchford says Ahzerei, who has autism and spina bifida, isn’t allowed back to school unless she can pay down a good chunk of his more than $7,000 balance with the school.

“Santa, are you out there?” Ratchford said, hoping for a Christmas miracle. “Just to get him back into school because he was doing really, really well.”

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

On top of outstanding bills, the concern now is will the money even be there once her claim - and the claims of many others - finally get cleared?

Back on Nov. 17, Governor Andy Beshear promised, “those dollars are going to be there for those individuals, and we’re going to make it right.”

Since our interview, Ratchford was able to get an in-person appointment with the unemployment office in Lexington. She told FOCUS that all she had to do was fill out a document concerning wages - a document she was supposed to get in the mail, which she points out never came.

Despite her claim now apparently fixed, Ratchford said unemployment specialists could not specify when she will finally see the money she’s been waiting nine months for.

Contact reporter John Charlton atjcharlton@whas11.com. Follow him onTwitter (@JCharltonNews) andFacebook.

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