How Long Do I Have to Work For to Collect Unemployment in Kentucky?

Kentucky requires you to have worked during a minimum of two quarters of the base period in order to qualify for unemployment insurance. Your total base period earnings must be at least 1.5 times your HQW. Further, you must have earned at least 8 times the WBA within the last two quarters of the base period. Additionally, you must have earned another $750 outside of your HQW.

Kentucky determines the WBA by taking 1.923% of your total base period wages (BPW). The minimum WBA is $39.

The minimum HQW you must have earned is $2,154 and the minimum base period earnings required is $3,230. In addition to the $2,154 minimum HQW, you must earn another $750 in a different quarter.

Kentucky does not offer an alternate base period; however, an extended base period is available to those who were injured/disabled while on the job or to those who received worker’s compensation. In addition, an unemployment insurance claim must be filed within 4 weeks of worker’s compensation benefits being terminated. If these qualifications are met, your base period may be extended up to four quarters.

In Kentucky an employer or employing unit is covered under unemployment insurance if it paid at least $1,500 in wages during any calendar quarter in the current or previous calendar year. Further, an employer/employing unit is also covered under unemployment insurance if it paid wages to at least one employee and employed said worker at least one day per week during the 20 weeks of the current or previous calendar year.


  • J. M.

    I worked out of state for about 3 months. My paystubs show that the company I worked for was taking GA state taxes (I guess because its headquarters are located in such state). The work is slow now and I have to go back home. Shall I be eligible

  • Brandi Elswick

    I was just currently fired due to a immediate death in the family and I had been working at the job for 5 1/2 months. Would I be able to qualify for unemployment?

    • Depends on why you were fired. You’ve worked long enough to be eligible. If employer alleges misconduct, you will be denied and need to appeal. This could take a few months. Apply for benefits and work your way through the process.

  • Pam Westover

    I was laid off last October of 2016. I drew unemployment until April of 2017. I went back to work at the same job May of 2017. Our plant is closing and moving to South Carolina. Will I be able to draw unemployment after they close ..Not sure of the date as of yet. September / October of this year

    • You cannot open a new claim until your original KY claim expires in October 2017. If you are laid off prior to the expiration date of that claim and there are any benefits remaining under that claim, you REOPEN that claim when you are laid off and collect until the benefit year for that claim expires.

      When the original claim expires in October 2017, you can reapply for another new claim. Because you’ve worked since May of this year, you will qualify for another claim in October without a problem.

  • Amber

    I worked at a childcare job for 9 months then switched to a property management job for 4 months so far with no gap in employment. Could I qualify for unemployment if I have to leave the job due to my spouse being active duty and getting stationed to another post?

  • Deborah Turner

    I worked part time for a local restaurant for three continuous months. They actually created a job for me answering the phone. They have not fired me but they are not giving me any hours. I’m still registered as their employee. I’m not working anywhere else. Am I eligible for unemployment?

  • Amy Birk

    how many weeks is two quarters?

    • There are 52 wks in a year divided by 4 quarters = 13 weeks x 2 quarters = 26 weeks.

      To put it another way, two quarters is equivalent to half a year, half a year is 26 weeks.

      Most states require minimum earnings in the one-year base period, many states want earnings to appear in at least two quarters of the base-period, with at least 25%-30% of those earnings to appear outside your high quarter. None require you work all 13 weeks in a quarter.

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