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PUA Facebook page creator speaks out about Nevada's unemployment issues

Posted at 7:11 PM, May 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-24 10:50:22-04

Saturday morning should've started with the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) website taking weekly claims from gig workers and independent contractors who have been out of a job for two months.

However, the site was delayed for at least a couple of hours and frustrated many users.

A spokeswoman from the Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation (DETR) said the extra time was to make sure the site was functional.

Nevada's PUA website available for weekly claims after technical issues

But once the site was up and running, several users told 13 Action News that they kept having problems submitting their first weekly claim.

A few of them reported issues on a Facebook page where people have been sharing their claim issues, and the page's creator Tyler Turner says the technical issues never seem to end.

"They're getting the same message that they can't certify for two weeks. Again, probably another glitch in the system, something that everyone is starting to get used too," Turner said. "But also, people see errors in the certifications, and the concerning part is that it is saying it could take 21 days to review that. So, this is 21 days after all the delays getting up to this point."

Turner said he created the Facebook page to help some friends with their unemployment claims, but after several complaints that users have had about DETR and the PUA website, he questions what could be wrong.

Website issues arise for people filing PUA claims

"To a degree, you want to be accepting that it is a new website, and it takes time to get these things corrected. But when you've seen every other state get it done and getting it corrected, you have to start asking what's taking Nevada so long," Turner said.

Phone calls have also been a problem. Filers told 13 Action News that they could not get their questions answered on the phone.

Kymberly Figueroa, a master hair colorist who submitted her initial unemployment claim last week, shared that she called 15 times before getting somebody on the other side of the phone.

She also said she hasn't been able to submit her weekly claim yet, but will be allowed to do that starting Saturday, according to DETR guidelines. For her, the social media page has been beneficial in the process when looking for assistance.

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"For those of who are self-employed, gig workers, 1099, you know, we've never been able to qualify for anything. So, I look at it as a gift. I'm very hopeful that is coming and that we'll all get back on our feet eventually", said Figueroa.

Turner said he is aware that his Facebook page is helping hundreds, but questions DETR's technology available for the team not to have an option to respond to users' questions besides the phone.

"I think it is wonderful how people are in the group are helping each other, but you have to ask the question, why do we have to do this? And the communication needs to be clearer and more consistent from the state on what needs to be done," he said.

According to DETR, several thousand Nevada claims were filed on Saturday, and claimants can file for any previous week of eligibility. They can also file for the current week (May 17-23) on Sunday, May 24.

DETR officials also encourage claimants to review the newly-updated PUA Claimant Guide for information on the weekly filing process.