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New PUA adjudication number kicking callers out of system

Joey Delligatti says the pandemic unemployment assistance adjudication call center activated Monday June 1, 2020 consistently kicks him out of the system.
Joey Delligatti says the pandemic unemployment assistance adjudication call center activated Monday June 1, 2020 consistently kicks him out of the system.(KOLO)
Published: Jun. 2, 2020 at 6:19 PM PDT
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A new problem is surfacing for self-employed, gig workers, and independent contractors filing for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance through the CARES Act.

Nevada's Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation otherwise known as DETR launched a new phone number for this group on Monday, June 1, but already KOLO 8 Evening Anchor Noah Bond has received several viewer emails about a common problem.

One of those emails came from Joey Delligatti. He invited Bond to his home to share his story.

"I'm packing things up in case I do have to move," he said.

Nearly out of hope and money he says he doesn't know how much longer he can hang on.

"Joey, the call center for PUA (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which is the Federal Government made available through the CARES Act) was launched just yesterday. Tell me about your experience," said Bond.

"At first I got into the queue and I was on hold for 32 minutes and the inexplicably I was kicked out of the system. It said all our customer service agents are busy try your call back later. The wait times dramatically decreased from 32 minutes to 24 minutes down to a minute and 30 seconds. Before? Before you get kicked out of the system," said Delligatti.

"Joey, you've been trying to contact DETR since late March. Have you talked with a human being yet?" asked Bond.

"No," said Delligatti.

"What is a very real possibility for your future right now?" asked Bond.

"I have next to no income. If that doesn't change there is a very real possibility I could be homeless," responded Delligatti.

"Joey, what would you like to say to Gov. Sisolak and to DETR?" asked Bond.

"There's so many people out there, families, small businesses that are hurting and there's no communication. The Governor doesn't talk to people. I rarely had a conversation with anybody from the State of Nevada about my situation let alone unemployment," said Delligatti.

DETR Spokesperson Rosa Mendez emailed KOLO a news released one day after this report was posted online.

It reads:

Record Volume of Calls to the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Call Center Inundate PUA Adjudication Line on First Day

CARSON CITY, NV – On Monday, June 1, 2020 the PUA adjudication line became operational and responsible for reviewing and resolving PUA eligibility issues presently holding back payments.

The adjudication line phone number is only provided to individuals who received additional notices and updates through their EmployNV client portal mailbox instructing them to call.

On the PUA adjudication line’s first day of operation, the PUA call center received nearly 140,000 PUA claims and adjudication calls. The PUA call center continues to experience high call volume and is providing answers to questions and assisting claimants with filing claims.

Claimants requiring adjudication of issues are notified to contact the PUA Adjudication center for assistance in the order by which they filed their claim. Calling the dedicated adjudication line when you have not been instructed to do so will not expedite your claim and prevents other claimants from reaching adjudication and receiving their payments in a timely manner.

Likewise, trying to secure assistance by reaching out directly to DETR staff or vendor employees ties up phone lines and prevents claimants from receiving necessary support.

Individuals with general questions about claims and the PUA process should call the general hotline at 800-603-9681 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, and Saturday between 8 a.m. and 12 noon. Claimants can also view the newly updated PUA Claimant Guide for information on the weekly filing process and access other resources at detr.nv.gov/pua.

“With Nevada’s staggering and unprecedented unemployment rate, it’s no surprise the demand for PUA is high. We know there have been challenges reaching a live agent or frustrations when agents didn’t have all of the answers. We are working with our vendor to address the demand by hiring and training as quickly as possible. Given the current call volume, claimants may experience a long wait or difficulty getting through, so we encourage claimants to check the status of their claim online,” said DETR director, Heather Korbulic. “This new system was launched in a short period of time, while DETR staff was already paying out a significant increase in the number of traditional UI claims. We remain steadfast in our commitment to improving the system and the overall experience of claimants. At the end of the day, our goal is to help as many Nevadans as possible obtain the assistance they are eligible for.”

As of this morning June 3, 2020, 90,756 initial PUA claims have been successfully filed and 716,964 weeks in claims have been successfully filed with DETR paying out nearly $119 million in combined PUA and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) assistance representing 18,445 claims. DETR continues to remove barriers, process, and release funds on PUA claims daily, in the order in which they were received. DETR works closely with law enforcement to identify, track, and prevent payment on a significant number of fraudulent claims.

Individuals who received a W2 from an employer for 2019, should go to ui.nv.gov and select “File a UI Claim” to determine if there is traditional UI benefit eligibility. Any person who may have UI eligibility, must file for traditional UI benefits before filing for PUA. If you are not eligible for a traditional UI claim, then you may be eligible for a PUA claim.

To file for a PUA claim, you must have exhausted any and all other types of UI, including Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and State Extended Benefits (SEB). If you have difficulties logging in, we encourage you to use the “Forgot Username/Password” functions. To start the process, please visit the website to apply: www.employnv.gov.

Copyright KOLO-TV 2020

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