LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A large number of Nevadans are still trying to sign up for “Pandemic Unemployment Assistance” — also known as “PUA”. This comes as the state’s unemployment agency “DETR” is facing a lawsuit filed by PUA claimants over not being paid.
Tens of thousands of new PUA claims are being filed every week, adding even more of a caseload to an agency now facing a lawsuit for non-payment.
Last week, the Department of Labor says 55,834 new PUA claims were filed. That puts the total number of people who have filed a claim at 279,000.
While that number was down by over 13,000 claims from the week before, it is more information DETR must sift through, while working through older claims with thousands of dollars owed in back pay.
“I understand some of those people are possibly cases of fraud, but there’s a lot of people that are not, and there’s a lot of people that are waiting on them to get it done,” said magician Dave Johnson.
Johnson has been waiting for weeks, doing what he can to keep him and his wife afloat.
“It’s just a guessing game at this point in time,” Johnson said. “I want to make sure we have a house over our head and food in our stomachs.”
Johnson has worked in Las Vegas for 16 years. He’s frustrated that a state with so many gig-workers is not as prepared as other states around the nation.
“They have basically the size of an overstuffed classroom essentially to be able to take care of over 100,000 people,” Johnson said. “I’m not very optimistic about that if they don’t change those numbers.”
Over the next week, a court-appointed representative will look into DETR’s system, including what surrounding states with similar numbers may be doing differently.