Nevadans waiting for unemployment benefits protest on the Strip

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) —People who have waited for weeks for their unemployment benefits are protesting on the Las Vegas Strip now. They say they don’t know what else to do.

The Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation provided an update today, revealing the latest numbers in Nevada show an increase in initial claims. Over 18,000 people filed claims last week, up 18%.

The group protesting calls themselves “Nevada United” and say people can’t go on much longer without their benefits. Some people have waited several months without any pay.

They are coming out to the Strip to send a message to State officials.

April Vermy is one of many who have had enough, lamenting, “People are falling into a sense of depression.”

A lawsuit against DETR was filed, and a judge ordered the department to make improvements. She says that is simply moving too slow.

“We feel our voices need to be heard,” said Vermy. “We have tried court; that is not getting us anywhere.”

Thousands of Nevadans are waiting for benefits.

“There are 20,961 other unpaid claims,” said David Schmidt, chief economist, “this is down 2,500 from last week.”

Last week was the second highest week of continued claims in the State’s history. Regular claims have been increasing weekly, up by 40,000 this past week.

As for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims, filed by gig workers or independent contract workers, continued claims were down. However, there was a 74% increase in initial claims.

“As of July 30, DETR has paid $6.1 billion across all UI and CARES Act program since the start of the pandemic,” said Schmidt.

After an error, DETR says they are working to get the last weekly $600 payment to people who missed it.

“A correction was released into the system on Wednesday evening,” said Kimberly Gaa, administrator for the Employment Security Division at DETR. “Payments have commenced to filers. Filers will see payments through the next business days while we catch up on all payments.”

Vermy has a message for the Governor:

“Why are you not helping your people? He says he cares; we don’t feel it.”

She says time is running out.

“As soon as the eviction lifts, can we borrow his couch?” she questioned.

The organizer of tonight’s protest says they had more than 75 people respond to this demonstration. They say they plan to be out on the Strip until 10 p.m. Friday.

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