COVINGTON, Ky. — DeAnn Braden has been dealing with a lot the past couple of years: a cancer diagnosis in September 2019 and job loss just as the pandemic began.

What You Need To Know

  • Kentucky opened up in-person appointments for unemployment assistance on April 7

  • Open appointments have been hard to find, and often require long drives across the Commonwealth

  • One Covington was only able to find an appointment in Hazard – three hours away from home

“During all this, it’s been very stressful,” Braden said. “Many nights crying myself to sleep, worried, waking up not knowing what to do today.”

The Covington resident said she hasn’t felt healthy enough to find a new job, especially because of COVID-19.  

“Cause I’m high-risk. I have asthma, COPD, cancer, heart problems,” Braden said. “I’ve overcome many obstacles to be able to work. I’m not afraid of working. I’m afraid of catching this and leaving my daughter without any parent.”

And for most of the last year, she hasn’t received any benefits, joining thousands of others who haven’t been able to reach anyone for help.

“And it’s been just a nightmare,” Braden said.

Now the state is offering more in-person help: sign-ups for appointments across Kentucky began this week, and Braden grabbed a spot at the end of the month.

But she lives in Covington, and the nearest site she was able to get an appointment at was in Hazard, nearly 200 miles and a three-hour drive away.

“I’ll probably have somebody go with me because I’ll probably be too tired to drive back,” Braden said.

On top of everything, Braden can’t even file her taxes because forms she got back from the state say she received benefits she never actually saw.

“I think it’s really sad that we have to wait this long,” Braden said. “I personally am very frustrated and just done with the whole process.”

She’s hopeful that after her in-person appointment, she’ll have some resolution.