Thousands swamp Nevada's unemployment application system

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -- Over 3 million U.S. citizens applied for unemployment benefits last week, which is almost five times the previous record set in 1982.

Catherine Simi lost her job as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic and says she's not getting the attention she needs from Nevada Government workers to help her file for unemployment benefits.

Thousands of people across in northern Nevada are struggling to file for these benefits.

Catherine Simi who lives in south Reno says trying to communicate with the Nevada Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation is difficult. "It's been a nightmare," she said.

William Clark who lives downtown says he's scared because he could lose his home.

"I'm getting ready to pay the rent for two weeks, but then I'm not going to have enough after that," Clark said.

These are just two of thousands of stories happening right now all around us.

Simi says she was able to easily file online, but she says there are
complications because she worked from her home in Nevada for a Bay area commercial printing company.

"They said I was ineligible. I was also told I was going to get a call back from unemployment, which I didn't get," Simi said.

Clark says he started calling for help when he learned the Nugget Casino in Sparks would lay him off.

"They're telling us like at 8:00 a.m., 8:02 a.m., 8:03 a.m. that they're filled up for the day and try back to the next day," said Clark.

We took Simi and Clarks' concerns to the spokeswoman for the Nevada Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation.

Spokesperson for the Department Rosa Mendez said of the online system, "It basically starts to slow down to accommodate the huge increase of claims that people are all trying to make at the same time. We are really encouraging folks to file what we are calling non-peak hours, which would be in evenings, or every early in the morning, or weekends."

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak also made a promise for anyone who can't get through. "I would advise them to keep trying and their benefits will not be affected as a result of the delay."

The Governor's advice is little comfort to Clark who could lose his home in a few weeks without help and Simi who is simply waiting for someone to call her back.

"I want to see my unemployment. I mean I worked for this company for over 17-years and I've never collected unemployment.

Mendez says online is the best way to file for unemployment because it's open 24/7.

Click here for a link to file for unemployment benefits in Nevada.