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Get the Help You Need

Updated: Jul 28, 2020

We're in this together

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You deserve it. State and federal officials are changing public benefits programs in response to the coronavirus pandemic. KEJC and allies are keeping track.

The information changes rapidly. We will update you as we learn more. See our latest update below on how to get food, health coverage, childcare, unemployment, and help with housing.

View a list of the Governor's executive actions to date.

Best practices on how to stay safe and healthy? The Cabinet for Health and Family Services and Kentucky Nonprofit Network have good web pages with updates and suggestions.

And of course, there's the CDC. (That’s Centers for Disease Control.)

Here’s the latest on food, health coverage, childcare, unemployment insurance and housing.

How to Get Food

For the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly food stamps, and most other public benefits:

For the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program:

There’s more!

  • If you’re getting benefits now, you won’t lose them: Kentucky extended the certification period for benefits for three months from when they would have ended. The extension includes SNAP (food stamps), Medicaid, KTAP and more.

  • No Kid Hungry is giving out grants to school districts and community orgs to help during this time.

  • School meals: Kentucky got federal permission to run school nutrition programs and serve offsite meals while schools are closed. Find feeding sites.

  • Work requirements suspended: Work, job search and participation requirements are suspended for adults with or without children who get SNAP.

  • They’ll take your word: DCBS staff have been instructed to accept people’s own statements as proof of income for SNAP, Medicaid and more until further notice.

  • Women, Infants, and Children (WIC): You will no longer need to go in person to a WIC office for a pre-screening interview. Contact your health department for a phone interview.

How to Get and Keep Health Coverage

For Medicaid and all public benefits:

If you have no medical insurance:

  • During this public health crisis, the fastest way to get health insurance is by filling out this Presumptive Eligibility (or "PE") application. Presumptive eligibility is a temporary form of Medicaid.

  • Anyone who is uninsured and under age 65 should qualify for PE Medicaid. 

If you have health coverage on the Marketplace (

  • If your income changes, you may be eligible to change to Medicaid or a lower-cost Marketplace plan. You can apply by reporting a change to your Marketplace application on

If you need help applying, contact an application assister for free help.

There’s more!

  • Medicaid continuation: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act just passed by Congress says no one currently on Medicaid can lose their benefits until the National Disaster Declaration has been ended.

  • Medicaid if you lose your job: The state has made changes to Medicaid eligibility requirements so that anyone now unemployed can immediately apply for Medicaid.

  • Keeping Medicaid if you have it now: Medicaid is included in the 3-month certification period extension announced by Governor Beshear.

  • ALL Medicaid co-pays and prior authorization requirements are suspended during this time.

  • They’ll take your word: Just as with SNAP, state agency staff have been instructed to accept your own statements as proof of income for Medicaid.

How to Get Child Care Payments

There’s more!

  • Kentucky will pay your childcare provider: Kentucky is working to continue Child Care Assistance Program payments to day care centers for qualified families. Kentucky also will cover co-payments usually paid by families themselves.

  • Work and activity requirements: Job search, work and participation requirements are suspended for adults receiving Child Care Assistance Program.

How to Get Unemployment Insurance

Laid off? Hours cut way back? Unemployment Insurance helps workers who lose jobs through no fault of their own. We encourage you to apply:

The Office of Unemployment has seen a huge spike in cases and they are dealing with a large backlog. Make sure to apply on your day of the week (see below) and only submit one application, submitting multiple applications will mean your benefits will be delayed.

There's more!

  • No more waiting week: The usual “waiting week” for benefits has been eliminated.

  • Job search suspended: Job search requirements have been suspended for UI.

  • Weekly application schedule: To help handle all the applications, the Kentucky Career Center has set up a schedule by the first letter of your last name. The schedule is:

  • - Sunday: A-D

  • - Monday: E-H

  • - Tuesday: I-L

  • - Wednesday: M-P

  • - Thursday: Q-U

  • - Friday: V-Z and anyone else who missed their day

  • What you need to apply: Applicants will need to provide a name, social security number, birthday, email, postal address and employment details.

  • What you get: Normally, Kentucky UI benefits will be between $39 and $552 per week for up to 26 weeks. The amount depends on your earnings over the last few quarters.

  • Extra $600 a week: The Relief Act passed by Congress adds $600 to your UI benefits for up to four months. The $600 per week is on top of the amount of UI a worker gets from the state.

  • Extra weeks: The legislation also adds 13 week of benefits. People nearing the maximum number of weeks allowed by their state--in Kentucky that's 26 week--will get an extension. New filers will be allowed to collect the benefits for the longer period.

  • More workers qualify: UI eligibility has been expanded effective immediately. Workers usually not covered by unemployment insurance can now file, including:

  • - self-employed, independent contractors, freelance workers

  • - substitute teachers

  • - childcare workers employed by religious affiliated organizations and non-profits

  • Virus-related good cause: Workers who left their job for “good cause” because of reasonable risk of exposure (self-quarantine) or to care for a family member affected by the virus are also eligible.

  • If you are denied unemployment benefits, you have the right to appeal. To appeal, you must request a hearing in writing. For free legal help, contact your local legal aid organization.

How to Get Housing Assistance

  • How to find housing: Contact your local housing authority to ask about the application process and get on the waiting list if it is open. For emergency shelter, contact the nearest homeless shelter in your county of residence.

  • Evictions halted: As part of the emergency effort to contain the spread of COVID–19 in Kentucky, the Governor has suspended all evictions statewide. The suspension is in effect until the Governor issues another Executive Order ending the suspension. The Kentucky Supreme Court also suspended eviction filings and proceedings.

Be well. Come back soon!

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