The governor, while providing an update on unemployment claims filed by residents in the state during his daily coronavirus press briefing on Monday, said there are some people who are falsifying identities to claim benefits. He cited that as one of the reasons why the state is lagging in sending unemployment checks to recipients.
“Unfortunately, it’s going to take a bit of time with these because a couple of bad apples can make this challenge that much more difficult. For instance, we had somebody apply for unemployment for Tupac Shakur here in Kentucky,” he said.
“That person probably thought they were being funny, they probably did, except for the fact that because of them, we’ve gotta go through so many other claims. That one person thinking that they were funny, using somebody else’s identity is gonna make tens of thousands, potentially of other people wait. It’s not OK. We can’t be doing that, and we shouldn’t be doing that as we move forward.”
Beshear’s claim of the said fake Tupac Shakur filing for unemployment benefits was, however, false. According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, Tupac Malik Shakur, 46, who shares the first and last names of slain rapper 2pac, is a Lexington resident, who is currently out of job as a cook after his employers shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking to the news platform, Malik confirmed he filed for unemployment insurance in March and has been waiting for the funds after receiving his monetary determination letter. He said he was shocked when he got to know the reason for the delay was because authorities thought he was a fake.
“I’m hurt, I’m really embarrassed and I’m shocked,” he said. “He needs to apologize. That’s just my name.”
After the governor was informed the said Tupac Shakur really did exist, he reached out to him via a phone call and apologized.
“I talked to him on the phone today. I apologized,” Beshear told CNN. “I told him how it happened. But it’s my fault. He was gracious. I said I’m sorry if I embarrassed him or caused him any attention he didn’t want. He ended the call ‘God bless.’”
Beshear’s spokesman also told The Courier Journal on Tuesday the governor had apologized to Malik.
“The governor was advised that a fraudulent claim had been filed in the name of Tupac Shakur. It now appears that a Kentuckian by that name has filed a claim,” he said. “This morning, Gov. Beshear called Mr. Shakur to apologize. The Office of Unemployment Insurance is working to resolve the claim.”
Malik legally changed his name in 1990s after converting to Islam, taking up the name Tupac Malik Shakur. Shakur means “thankful to God” in Arabic.
Though Malik said he has been struggling to pay his bills over the last month as a result of the hold-up, he has nothing against the governor and is thankful for the call.
“I understand, he’s dealing with a lot,” he told the Lexington Herald-Leader. “Mistakes happen.”
Kentucky received over 282,000 unemployment claims in March, out of which 183,000 have so far been paid, Beshear said at the Monday press briefing. He added that another 70,000 claims for the same month were set to be processed on Monday night.