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Congressional leaders raise concerns over federal PUA guidelines

The State of Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation building on E. St. Louis in Las Vegas
Posted at 5:20 PM, Jul 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-15 10:32:03-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Local members of Congress are diving into Nevada’s unemployment mess. The state’s in charge of distributing the money, but congressional leaders are trying to clear out any obstacles in the way in a letter to the Department of Labor.

In a letter, Rep. Dina Titus along with Susie Lee and two other congressional members are asking the Department of Labor to help to clear up what states need to do to immediately pay unemployment benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.

“We wanted to get right at that to make it easier for our state to hand out those unemployment checks.”

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Titus says the department has wavered on its guidelines making it difficult for agencies like Nevada's Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation to pay in a swift and efficient manner.

“First, they said that was okay and we started issuing checks and then they said we need additional information, so the state doesn’t really know what to do,” she said.

The letter also raised concerns about the federal government not reimbursing CARES Acts funds used to pay for programs like PUA. There have been many messages from people to 13 Action News about not receiving PUA payments, and some feel payments are being held up because of the state’s uncertainty about the reimbursement. Titus said this in response.

“We don’t want them to feel they’re not going to get the benefits they’re entitled to, just as we don’t want the states not to get the benefit from the federal government,” she said.

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When asked on whether someone like the National Guard could be called to handle claims, Titus says DETR has made progress and has confidence in Gov. Sisolak’s use but says it’s an available option.

“They’ve hired new people. They put in more phone lines, but that’s always an option to look for other resources and the National Guard has been great here in the state,” she said.

A judge is expected to make a decision on Monday up in Reno on a lawsuit about PUA payments and whether DETR should payout immediately.