Protesters demand change amid frozen PUA unemployment claims

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A group of impassioned people took to the Las Vegas Strip Friday to demand change after months of frozen Pandemic Unemployment Assistance payments. 

Those who spoke with 8 News Now said they want everyone to remember they aren’t just numbers. They all have a story and are struggling more than many could ever imagine. 

“We’re suffering,” protest organizer Lara Attebery exclaimed. “Why can’t you guys help us?”

“I’m losing everything,” PUA claimant David Day explained. 

“There were several times when I was almost homeless,” PUA claimant Michael Rodriguez added of his experience. 

It’s been months since any of the people present Friday have seen a paycheck and some said it’s dismantling their lives every single day. 

“I’ve had to do everything from wait hours in line to donate blood plasma,” Rodriguez shared with 8 News Now. “I’ve had to go collect cans. I’ve had to almost be physically assaulted in soup kitchen lines.”

Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation numbers are still soaring, with more than 611,000 unemployment claims filed so far in 2020. 

Our state’s self employed and gig workers make up a large portion of that, with over 34,000 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance or “PUA” claims frozen for months. 

“I closed my business because they asked us to,” Day said. “They said close it and save people. I’ve done it, now save me.”

That’s why these people said they have to take their own action and beg state leaders to listen to them. 

“Help my kids,” Attebery pleaded. “Help these peoples’ families.”

They said at this point, it’s the only option they have left. 

“Where is our money?” Attebery concluded. 

Some PUA claimants who haven’t been paid also filed a lawsuit against DETR. The judge in this case set a hearing for August 20, where an update is expected. 

The department also announced 3,000 claimants will receive payments next week. 

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