Carson City woman fearing eviction says DETR won’t answer her questions

Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 4:09 PM PDT
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CARSON CITY, Nev. (KOLO) -- Carson City woman Donna Ussia says an important conversation with a representative from Nevada’s Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation (DETR) has left her with no direction regarding her unemployment insurance claim.

She says this is especially frustrating because she doesn’t have enough money to pay rent for November.

KOLO 8 News Now Anchor Noah Bond sat down in her home to ask key questions about this conversation.

“How many jobs have you applied for this year?” Bond.

“I can’t even begin to count. I just did six in one day. The other day I’ve been working on it daily every single day at least five days a week. There’s so much competition. I applied for one job and indeed said they hired two people, but 2,907 applied. So the work is scarce. If I don’t pay my rent next month and if I don’t have a job and a check coming in soon, I’m not going to be able to stay here. Sleeping in my van at 67 years old is so not an option, I hope,” Ussia.

She says she applied for unemployment insurance April 1 through Nevada’s DETR.

She says after five months of calling she secured a phone interview in September with a representative to settle her claim.

“What did he first say to you in that interview?” Bond.

“The first words out of his mouth were you’ve had an awful lot of jobs this year and I was shocked. I was not expecting that,” Ussia.

She says she expected him to go over her job history or ask her other questions about her claim.

“He did none of that. The only thing he asked me was my next to last employer and he wanted to know the date I left one particular job,” Ussia.

“Donna, you told me you asked him an important question at the end of this interview. What was that question? How did he respond?” Bond.

“I asked him at that point when he was going to be able to tell me if he was going to confirm my employment, my ability of collecting unemployment or whether he was going to deny it.” Ussia.

“What was his response?” Bond.

“He ignored it. I asked him twice and just dead silence. He didn’t say anything. He just said the interview was over after that and that was it,” Ussia

“Your reaction to that?” Bond.

“It’s like I’m in left field,” Ussia.

“What would you like to say to DETR?” Bond.

“DETR is so negligent in their responsibilities and I’ve been in constant contact, emailing, keeping my information updated. I’ve been asking for adjudicators for at least 3.5 to 4 months,” Ussia.

“Donna, what would you like to say to Gov. Sisolak who I might add called stories like yours anecdotal,” Bond. The exact quote and context of Gov. Sisolak’s statement is at the bottom of this online report.

Ussia responded, “It’s not anecdotal when you’re talking about the roof over your head and the only reason your coved is because of the community giving services like the food bank.”

Bond says he will continue to share stories like Ussia’s until everyone who applied for and qualifies for unemployment assistance because of the pandemic is paid.

In the summer of 2020 Gov. Sisolak had an exchange with a reporter when he used the word anecdotal to describe people who are unable to pay their rent.

A reporter asked him, “We’re about a week out from the first of the month. Can you offer people any assurance that they’re not going to get evicted in one week. Can you say anything about when the eviction moratorium is going to end?”

Gov. Sisolak replied, “We’re going to be addressing the expiration of the moratorium in the next few days. We’re still gathering some data and talking to some groups that are involved in this and we should have an update for that in the next couple of days as it relates to the eviction moratorium.”

The reporter responded, “Do you expect there to be some sort of ramp down for folks that haven’t gotten paid their unemployment checks and have no money for this?”

Gov. Sisolak, “Well there’s a lot of anecdotal stories about individuals that have gotten unfortunately haven’t gotten their PUA or U.I. and definitely something that we are considering and we will have a phased in a rolled back approach as it relates to the moratorium as it relates to evictions.”

Copyright 2020 KOLO. All rights reserved.

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