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Unemployment benefits flagged for fraud over Nevada's confidential address program

The State of Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation building on E. St. Louis in Las Vegas
DETR
The State of Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation building on E. St. Louis in Las Vegas
Authorities are investigating what could be multiple Nevada unemployment debit cards that have been swiped without the cardholders knowledge or permission
Posted at 8:16 AM, Sep 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-10 12:23:09-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The state's unemployment crisis put at least one abuse victim in an odd predicament: give up her physical location or give up her unemployment benefits.

The predicament centers around Nevada's little known "Confidential Address Program" which is currently administered by the Nevada Department of Health & Human Services, Division of Child and Family Services.

The program allows certain individuals, such as victims of domestic violence, human trafficking and stalking, among other circumstances, to use a state-issued fictitious physical address and mailing address to hide from parties who may wish to do them harm.

"We applied for years ago to what is known as the Nevada confidential address program through the Nevada Attorney General's Office and the Nevada Department of Health & Human Services, Division of Child and Family Services," said one victim identified as Jane.

Jane says she's been in hiding with her children after suffering domestic violence.

Recently, Jane lost her job as a clinician and because of her classification as an independent contractor, she went through Nevada's unemployment system to apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance or PUA, as it is commly referred.

After weeks of back and forth, Jane was finally approved and received her benefits.

"The benefits were approved, they were retroactively handled, and I went every week to file and I filed the week of August 23 through August 30 and I was notified that I was ineligible," explained Jane.

Jane called up to 60 times, she says, and reached a Department of Employment, Training & Rehabilitation adjudicator.

According to Jane, the adjudicator explained her claim was flagged for fraud all because of the address she used.

"She explained that the recent fraudulent activities that the state has been facing, our address came up as more than one participant and I very kindly explained the lady, yes, we are part of the confidential address program and you are going to have probably 100 or potentially more people [for this address]" said Jane.

The multiple filings at the fake address provided by the state raised the red flag.

Jane adds the adjudicator demanded that she upload her real, physical address, in order for an up to 21 day review of her benefits to take place.

Jane said giving up her real address opens her and her family up to real danger.

"I can't upload my physical address, those protections and safe guards are in place for me and my family and all the other people that are affected," explained Jane.

Jane says she reached out to the governor's office for help but since the money is running out she has no where else to turn.

13 Investigates reached out to the Nevada Department of Health & Human Services, Nevada Attorney General's Office, Nevada Governor's Office, and to Department of Employment, Training & Rehabilitation about the situation but a request for information was not immediately acknowledged.

The Nevada Secretary of State's website indicates that the fictitious address provided by the Confidential Address Program is accepted by state agencies and public schools.

The website also shows all certified agencies and their personnel are supposed to receive training on an annual basis.

Within hours of an inquiry with state authorities, Jane's unemployment benefits were restored.

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