LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR) could not estimate Tuesday how much it overpaid tens of thousands of claimants as the department asks those Nevadans for money back.
The department sent out more than 84,000 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) overpayment notices, the 8 News Now Investigators reported Monday.
PUA was a federal program, which enabled states to give benefits to self-employed or gig workers. The program was funded through the CARES Act.
For regular state unemployment, more than 64,000 people received nearly 150,000 notices, the department said.
The money is funded through taxpayer dollars with the total amount of overpayments likely coming in at tens of millions of dollars, if not more.
“The federal government’s going to call and say, ‘We want our money back.’” 8 News Now Investigator David Charns said to DETR Director Chris Sewell during an interview earlier this month.
“Right, we’re going to say, ‘We’re continuing to work on getting your money back,’” Sewell said.
A spokesperson said Tuesday that Sewell was working to estimate the total overpayment figure. One man the 8 News Now Investigators interviewed owed DETR $30,000.
Some overpayments are fraudulent. DETR estimates it gave out more than $640 million in fraudulent payments from both federal and state coffers, Swell said. The department has collected more than $100 million back as of January.
Those owing money to the state can appeal, but federal Department of Labor guidelines limit what DETR can waive. Repayments that would be “contrary to equity and good conscience,” according to the Department of Labor, can be waived.