LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Thousands of Nevadans have been laid off due to the coronavirus. 8 News Now has been hearing from our viewers about delays in applying for unemployment benefits, whether it is backed up phone lines or slowdowns online.
At a press conference Monday evening, Gov. Steve Sisolak tried to calm any fears Nevadans may have.
“Every night I think about this, and the situation our fellow Nevadans are facing,” Sisolak said.
Sisolak said more than 300,000 Nevadans have applied for unemployment benefits over the last 30 days. For perspective, that is one out of every 10 Nevadans.
Unemployment offices are closed, so people have to go online or call. But many say they have waited on hold for hours and still cannot get through.
“I know this is hard,” Gov. Sisolak said. “I get your frustration.
But Sisolak wants to put Nevadans’ minds at ease.
“You will not lose any benefits as a result of the overwhelming surge in demand. That’s because today, I instructed DETR to backdate all unemployment claims to the earliest day of eligibility, back to March 15 of 2020. Whenever your application was submitted, you will be paid retroactively,” Sisolak said. “This is great news and will provide Nevadans out of work more money in their pockets to pay their bills and start the road to recovery.”
Nevada is also one of the early states that will be giving out an additional $600 per week through the end of July, through the CARES Act.
“These payments will be backdated as well,” Sisolak said. “Some of you may begin to see this payment as early as tomorrow, and staggered payments will continue to go out throughout the week.”
In terms of the delays, DETR said it has tripled its staff and extended their work hours. But they understand more needs to be done.
“We know this is not enough to meet the demand, so the state has hired a vendor that will provide an additional 100 full-time operators,” said Kimberly Gaa, administrator for the Employment Security Division of DETR. “We expect this call center to be stood up and running, sometime later this week.”
They have also waived the work search requirement and the traditional seven-day waiting period.
“We’re doing our very best to fast-track the system,” Gaa said.
Sisolak said it is all hands on deck to make sure Nevadans in need get help.
“I know we will get through this,” Sisolak said. “I know we will get through this.”
And because of the high volume of calls, DETR recommends that people file online based on the first letter of their last name:
- Letters A to K should file on Sundays
- Letters L to R should file on Mondays
- Letters S to Z should file on Tuesdays
Anyone can call during the remainder of the week