One out of ten Nevadans have applied for unemployment in the last 30 days, and the system has paid almost $200 million over that period, Gov. Steve Sisolak said during a presentation on unemployment Tuesday.
But Sisolak said the state’s overwhelmed unemployment insurance system also means there are Nevadans “who can’t get through the phones even after calling all day long” and who are frustrated with a slow and clunky website that the governor said was never intended to handle the volume it has to handle now.
“I hear you,” Sisolak said.
He and Kimberly Gaa, administrator for the state Employment Security Division of the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabiliation (DETR), outlined steps being taken to attempt to make the system run more efficiently, including roughly tripling staff and hiring a call center vendor. The call center’s numbers should be available later this week.
Gaa said the state is still not set up to provide benefits to gig workers, the self-employed and others not traditionally covered by the state unemployment system — but who are covered by the federal CARES Act.
“We’re hoping to get that module set up very soon,” Gaa said. “We’re looking maybe mid-May, early May.”
DETR has asked that such workers not file for the time being.
Sisolak emphasized that claims will be backdated to a person’s earliest date of eligibility, as far back as March 15.
In an effort to ease the strain on the system, DETR is also asking people to file initial or weekly claims on different days of the week, based on the first letter of their last names:
- A-K: Sunday
- L-R: Monday
- S-Z: Tuesday
- All: Wednesday, Saturday
Sisolak and Gaa also described a “life cycle” of a claim, from initial filing to determination of eligibility to getting money on the debit card. No, when you get the debit card, it doesn’t already have money on it, Sisolak noted.
The full presentation on unemployment benefits can viewed on Sisolak’s YouTube page.