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Unemployment PUA questions no one seems to be able to answer

Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation logo (DETR).
Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation logo (DETR).(KOLO)
Published: Jun. 10, 2020 at 4:47 PM PDT
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Several self-employed workers say they feel neglected by Nevada's Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation otherwise known as DETR.

Even though director Heather Korbulic is giving weekly news conferences they say they're not getting responses to their specific questions.

"They told me (DETR call center representatives designated for PUA claimants), you'll be paid, you'll be paid in two to three days, well that was two weeks ago," said Sherry Frye who is applying for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) on behalf of her husband Charlie.

They are both entertainers, but say they lost their jobs because of the Pandemic.

They individually applied for PUA assistance May 22. She got her payment five days later. She says he did not even though she says there is no issue on his application.

She says no one is addressing her concerns.

"That's the thing that's upsetting everyone. The most is there's just radio silence from everyone in government," Sherry.

This is the reason Facebook groups like "Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Nevada Self-Employed" has grown from roughly 3,000 members May 14 to more than 10,400 June 10 when this report was posted online.

Amber Stephenson is an administrator for this Facebook group.

"Waiting now almost approximately 14 weeks for benefits to arrive and being told that they were going to arrive and every week being met with another excuse or met with another lack of communication or understanding," Stephenson.

She says the mental state of some group members is growing unstable.

"Desperation, hopelessness, despair," she said.

She is asking for open communication with DETR because she says right now it's not happening.

"There's a list of approximately 23 questions that we have (they are posted at the bottom of this report). A lot of those are just dependent on the claimants circumstances, but they're things that could have easily been published in a claimants guide," Stephenson.

KOLO 8 Evening Anchor Noah Bond emailed those questions to DETR spokeswoman Rosa Mendez Monday June 8.

She told Bond she would work on answering them, but also said answering these questions would take time away from workers who are spending long hours to process the claims.

She says she will respond to the questions as soon as possible and will include them in the questions submitted to DETR Director Heather Korbulic during her weekly news conferences held each Friday.

"We're just asking for clarification and understanding that could perhaps lessen the amount of significant mental unrest that these claimants are experiencing right now," Stephenson says.

"Having to call from 8 o'clock in the morning to 8 o'clock at night you get no answers you get nowhere and it's like Groundhog Day," Sherry.

DETR Spokeswoman Rosa Mendez says DETR employees processed 14,000 claims last week.

She says processing Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims is complicated and has never been done before in Nevada history.

She also says she and the DETR staff understand each claim represents a Nevadan and a family.

There are at least 23 unanswered questions from the Facebook group "Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Nevada Self-Employed".

Facebook group administrator Amber Stephenson says no one in State Government has been able to answer the 23 questions below.

Bond will post DETR's answers as soon as he receives them.

1) Large group 30 % of group who on 5-25 had an outstanding issue called “IP special investigation project case” that fell off 5-26 leaving their claim with “no outstanding issues” but still had a “unresolved:yes” in their claim summary. These claimants have not seen any movement since the 26th when this group should have been paid or at least given pay dates by now. As other claimants who had outstanding issues that required a review or adjudication have been paid or given payment date. This group of 30% has been at a stand still for over a week and a half and the call reps won’t help or hang up. Q- What is going on with this group if they have no outstanding claim issues or nothing that adjudication?

2) Why are claimants being issued claim pay dates but the dates keep switching daily with no payments made. Started 6/4 ex. Claimants got paydate 6/4 and everyday since it changes to 6/5,6/6 ?

3) What is going on with PUA debit cards? It’s been 21 days since launch of PUA site and cards are supposed to take 7-14 days?

4) When does the 21 days start? Initial claim? From the time there are outstanding issues?

5) What is the process of the process of “PUA other program eligibility” what can claimants do to expedite that process?

6) How can claimants file backdated claims if they aren’t showing on their Employ.nv account?

7) Are prepaid and cash app Direct Deposit cards able to be used? 8) Some claimants have been told no and some yes? Also Chime card holders and Venmo as well?

8) What is the payment payout schedule? What days are payments posted? Is it similar to UI or a different schedule?

9) Why are claimants who applied on 5/16 who have been reviewed not being paid but new claimants who just applied being paid in 72 hours or less?

10) When doesn’t the call center the reps tell claimants they don’t have access, they cannot help because they aren’t trained, or ability to change claims and that only DETR can make changes?

11) Why are SNAP recipients bring cut off from their DWSS SNAP benefits based off of income not even paid out yet?

12) Why are call reps reading a script when claimants call in?

13) Why are call reps reporting being in Florida,Tennessee,Alabama,California when the conference 5/29 stated they are all from a Nevada call center?

14) Why are call reps reporting to claimants other call reps refuse to finish their training?

15) Why are call reps at call center hanging on claimants after 60 min hold or longer and being told “hold on let me pull up your claim” then call is disconnected?

16) Why were claimants told to use adjudication line 5/29 but on 6/5 told to again wait?

17) Why are claimants not being paid now and adjudication later per DETR press release 5/15?

18) Can claimants get an amendment to claimant guide of what “outstanding issues” mean? To free up phone lines.... I.E “working full time, DUA not due to disaster, end employment, refusal of telework, lack of work,” ? (having an idea of meaning and how to resolve/how long it takes to resolve)

19) What’s the best method to communicate with reps to address issues? Email, employ nv chat, waiting for a call?

20) How long until people are trained and have access to help? It’s been 5 days of calling and being hung up on now from the 82 adjudication line?

21) Why is DETR avoiding answering claimants questions?

22) Are numbers truly what’s been paid or what’s been released?

23) Why have claimants with the max weekly benefit of $469 not being paid out? They have no outstanding issues and nothing to be adjudicated in many cases.

Copyright KOLO-TV 2020

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