I-Team: Gov. Steve Sisolak addresses unemployment issues

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CARSON CITY, NEVADA (KLAS) — Gov. Steve Sisolak wrapped up a press conference Tuesday evening but provided no date on when to reopen the State of Nevada. He did, however, address issues on unemployment.

The I-Team has been hearing from many viewers about unemployment. They’re having trouble filing online and can’t get through by phone.

Over the last 30 days, 300,000 Nevadans, or one in 10, have filed for unemployment. Sisolak said Nevadans had expressed the following issues with filing:

  • Busy phone lines
  • Difficulty resetting passwords
  • Slow website

“The system was never set up to handle this volume of calls and claims,” said Sisolak. He noted that earlier attempts to upgrade the unemployment system or increase staffing were not approved in the past.

To help mitigate the issues, the state is increasing workers at the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, which handles unemployment. They’re also waiving the seven day waiting period and backdating claims back to March 15.

Kimberly Gaa, administrator for the Employment Security Division, revealed that DETR has tripled its staff to help with the increase in volume of calls and claims. She also noted they’ve hired a vendor to provide an additional 100 full-time operators.

She also covered a new unemployment filing process based on claimants’ last names.

Sisolak touted that Nevada is among the early states that will begin dispersing the extra $600 from the CARES Act to Nevadans currently receiving unemployment.

A reporter asked the governor if he’d been invited to join the coalition between California, Oregon and Washington in working on the states’ plans to reopen. He replied that he would base his decision to make that happen and ease restrictions on advice from the medical team he formed and daily statistics.

The governor noted the state’s opening will be “slow and steady” and that he is monitoring COVID-19 numbers in the state.

However, there is no date for a projected opening.

Sisolak also talked about the 800 Nevada National Guard airmen and soldiers activated. He said their duties include the following:

  • Medical support
  • Food bank and warehouse logistics
  • Supply transportation
  • Alternate care facility set up
  • Delivering PPE and food products to tribal communities

He concluded by thanking everyone for doing their part to flatten the curve. Sisolak did offer a word of caution, “Now is not the time to let up. Please stay home, stay safe and Stay Home for Nevada.”

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