LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The state experienced its second highest weekly number for continued unemployment claims which rose to 346,138 which was up more than 40,000 from the previous week. Initial claims were also up with 18,390 being filed as of the week ending July 25.
This is the fifth straight week of increases in regular unemployment initial claims. Through the week ending July 25, there have been 611,090 initial claims filed in 2020, 589,438 of which have been filed since the week ending March 14.
While continued claims decreased from the previous week for PUA benefit, there was a 74% increase in the number (34,072) of initial claims filed for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, whic is for the self-employed, gig or contract workers.
During its weekly news conference, DETR Administrator Kimberly Gaa made a point to assure claimants who have yet to receive the final payment of $600 designated by the CARES Act, it should be arriving any day for a delay announced earlier this week due to a system error.
“Our filers will receive payments through the next several working days while we catch up all payments,” she said.
That additional money ended this week and Congress has yet to agree on a new stimulus bill that could extend that payment or some version of it.
Gaa did say eligible claimants who haven’t receive the money would be back pay.
“Filers who were eligible during the period that Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation was available will still receive all benefits for all eligible weeks.”
She also pointed out that claimants who exhaust the 26 weeks of regular unemployment can apply for other benefits that could extend pay for up to 52 weeks. One of those is Nevada’s Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) which extends payment. However, PUA claimants, at this point, will only be able to file until the end of the year when that program ends on Dec. 31, 2020.
DETR has come under fire for not processing payments fast enough for claimants, especially when it comes to PUA and is facing a class-action lawsuit.
DETR did announce that PUA filers are now able to file an appeal online at this website.
Gaa said DETR has also received questions about why there have been changes made to the PUA payment dates and why it takes a number of days to receive the payment instead of when it’s reflected in the system. She says the payments need to be reviewed to ensure accurate disbursement of the money.
“We are aware this is confusing for filers.” We continue to work with our vendor to further automate this process.”
Gaa closed the news conference saying that the recently reported fraud involving unemployment claims is “not a result of any known breaches in Nevada DETR systems.”