LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Filing for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) has been a long, arduous journey for many, and it could come to an end as soon as Monday.
8 News Now examined a 310-page report from Hutchison & Steffen, PLLC, detailing problems and issues that have delayed payments owed to applicants.
It analyzes every angle you can imagine, following the course of COVID-19 and the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation’s (DETR) response and handling of claims. It also looks at how other states have handled it.
The report was released in advance of a hearing set for Monday, in which a judge could force DETR to pay all pending claims.
Now, we’ll break it down.
It was put together by what’s called a “special hearing master.” In this case, that was an attorney who worked with both sides after the class-action lawsuit was filed.
In the section concerning PUA claims, it starts with how a claim is made, how it is resolved and looks at issues with claims.
The special master asks extensive questions of both DETR and the plaintiffs, who represent all in similar situations. Each answer is thoroughly detailed.
One area explained in great detail has to do with the contracted call center, Alorica. It lists numerous issues, having to do with training, rude staff and a lack of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliancy. It goes on to say:
“The evidence reviewed by the special master raises serious questions about Alorica’s performance on behalf of the state.
But instead of just listing problems, there were potential solutions listed, too. The special master listed 14 suggestions for the court to consider, gathered from thousands of claimant emails.
And, there are ideas from the special master himself that will help in all aspects as we move forward. Those include creating a PUA appeal process, adding a “volunteer claim concierge corps,” improving the call center, specifically relations with Alorica, and denying claims when fraud is expected.
For the full report, click on the file link included above.