RENO,NV - It's been a difficult few days for unemployed Nevadans trying to file for benefits. The online system has been down, and the phone system at a stand-still, leaving many worried about the status of their checks.
Nevada's 30-year-old unemployment insurance system was taken off-line more than a week ago. It was supposed to be replaced by a new system in time for Sunday's filings, but that has yet to happen.
Every day starts the same for Tori Monticelli; she's at the computer, searching for a job.
"I have had one job interview and I have had no phone calls at all, and all the emails that I get is that they are seeking other applicants," said Monticelli.
Since she was laid off in December, Tori has been relying on an unemployment check to scrape by.
"It's very hard when I have children that I need to feed and bills that I need to pay," said Monticelli.
But this week, getting even that check has been difficult.
A new website (ui.nv.gov) set to be up and running 4 days ago, still sits empty.
"I just hope that this comes up today, and it works and that things get rolling," said Monticelli.
To the south in Carson City, Wendy Cauch is trying to get her benefits on the phone.
"I keep getting a busy signal, I cannot get through, I cannot get through to the internet claims system," said Cauch.
The phone system is also brand new and has only been online since Wednesday morning.
"The phone system is so jammed, that you can not get through, and so there probably thousands of us out there that are unemployed," said Cauch.
Employment officials say the change-over is taking longer than expected. They're asking for everybody's patience, saying they think everyone will still get paid on time, but that's a lot of people. Nevada unemployment rate is the highest in the nation at nine and a half percent. For July, that meant meant 130,000 people without jobs, all trying to get benefits.
"Unbelievable what the State of Nevada has done to its citizens," said Cauch.
When these people do get their money, there could be less of it. People who are on extended unemployment will see a 59% reduction in benefits this week because of sequestration.
It could be another three days until the online system is up and running. It's not all bad news; late Wednesday afternoon, both Monticelli and Cauch said they were finally able to get their benefits over the phone after hours of dialing in and getting a busy signal.