Changes coming to DETR, but claimants not entirely confident

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Unemployment uncertainty continues across Nevada as officials start a new strategy to get people paid.

Gov. Steve Sisolak announced major changes at the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR) that are meant to fix the unemployment benefit problems plaguing our state. But many are still waiting with bated breath.

The thousands of Nevadans struggling with these problems just want answers and some proof of the progress.

“We’re losing our faith, even though we’re trying to stay positive,” said Michelle Johnson.

Johnson, who is a Las Vegas performer and business owner, has been filing for unemployment but hasn’t gotten a payment in more than six weeks. Her questions to DETR are falling on deaf ears.

“I’ve never gotten anything except a couple of messages in the portal, telling me to reupload things that are already there.”

Nuchanart Wong told the department to “get it together,” questioning, “How can you treat the hardworking people here like that?”

Wong is another one of those demanding DETR to pay up. She filed for unemployment due to COVID-19 but hasn’t been paid in more than six weeks.

She says the most frustrating thing is the absence of answers.

“If I knew what was the problem with my claim, perhaps I could do something to expedite it,” Wong said, “but you don’t know because you can’t get hold of anyone … I call at least three, four times a day.”

In a press conference earlier this week, Sisolak told the public “I hear you.” He noted the changes are already underway.

Sisolak signed Senate Bill 3 into law, which gets more benefits to families in need. He also appointed former Nevada State Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley as the head of a new unemployment strike force to tackle the payment backlog.

“The goal is to find solutions, enhanced IT solutions, use of volunteers, hiring of additional personnel, temporary transfer of State employees,” said Buckley. “Whatever solutions make sense, they will be on the table.”

8 News Now wanted to get more details about the plan moving forward, but we were told no one was available to speak to us.

DETR Tweeted staff will be examining current processes to provide the press and the public transparent and timely answers.

“I have very little confidence in this task force,” Wong stated. She noted she’ll believe there’s progress once she gets paid. “We’re starting to lose hope.”

Many continue to demand proof of progress and want to see action now.

“We need to stop kicking the can down the road and really look at what’s wrong with it and fix it,” said Johnson.

Claimants we spoke to say hearing the term “Strike Force” make them think of efficiency. So, they’re hoping to get answers, and their benefits, soon.

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