Senate Panel Approves Unemployment Overpayment Measure

5 hours ago

Credit Stu Johnson

Legislation focusing on overpayments of unemployment benefits during the current coronavirus pandemic is moving to the Senate floor.  The measure passed unanimously out of the Senate Economic, Labor, and Tourism Committee Tuesday.

Committee Member Chris McDaniel said, quote, “the pandemic has made us realize the weakness of having one person pull every lever in society and in an economy.” “So for those who want to wax poetic about the wonderful things that the governor has done, but to the ones that want to talk about everything being terrible that the governor has done, the fact remains that the truth is somewhere in the middle,” said McDaniel. 

Without the involvement of the legislature McDaniel said a bad scenario can result, which he said, has happened.   The bill allows for the waiving of returning unemployment benefits if recovering of the overpayment was due to administrative error or not tied to fraud, misrepresentation, or fault of the recipient. 

Bill Sponsor David Givens told the committee over the summer months there would be the need for what he called a broad and painful conversation of unemployment insurance as a whole. 

Lexington Senator Reggie Thomas told Givens major improvements in unemployment processing are needed before the next crisis situation.  “So I really do want us to, and I really want to work with you and the Senate body to make sure that during the 20’s we really modernize our unemployment system so that when we face the next crisis, we’ll be ready to deal with it and deal with it appropriately and wisely,” explained Thomas. 

Governor Beshear has said previous staff cuts and an antiquated computer system are key factors in delays in getting checks to jobless Kentuckians.

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