Sisolak talks fraudulent unemployment claims, vaccine incentive program

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — 8 News Now’s John Langeler sat down with Gov. Steve Sisolak and talked everything from unemployment to “Nevada Vax Days.”

As our state tries to transition from a record number of people on unemployment, we are learning just how much fraud clogged up the system.

Sisolak says money from the Legislature to modernize outdated unemployment software will help.

He told us that fraudulent claims were a major problem all over the country, especially here in Nevada, where the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR) came to a standstill as fraudulent claims poured in.

“DETR is a major problem, nobody would deny that,” Sisolak said. “But you’re finding out across the country that the estimates are 50% of the cases that were applied for — DETR benefits — were fraudulent. I mean hundreds of millions of dollars were applied for … and money got paid out on fraudulent claims. And we need to do more in concert with the attorney general and Department of Justice to prosecute those people,” Sisolak said.

Nevada is using federal funds to help modernize the unemployment system.

The governor also shared reaction to the “Nevada Vax Days” incentive program for receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I’m very confident and hopeful people will see it for what it is. It goes over eight weeks, and it gives folks an opportunity to be entered eight times to win a series or prizes; the grand prize … is $1 million for one individual,” Sisolak explained. “It’s certainly an incentive to get people to get their vaccination if they haven’t gotten it yet, and those that all got their vaccine will also be entered. So, they got it when they were available to them, so people have been very positive about.”

The program is funded through the federal government and will be a random, anonymous drawing.

Another issue our state is facing is the current drought. As Lake Mead nears historically low levels, Sisolak is hoping everyone can work together to keep the situation from getting worse.

“We need to do more, in terms of education, in terms of saving the water we do have, not wasting it,” he said. “Now, most of the water we use inside of the house is reclaimed. It’s put back in the system, put back in the lake; we take it back out again. But the water we use outside, we don’t get back.”

Right now, the lake is just two inches above a new milestone low of 1,070 feet. One step toward preventing a severe drop passed through the Nevada Legislature. It will remove what’s considered “non-functional turf,” or grass that never gets stepped on, except when it’s mowed.

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