Frustrations continue for those filing for unemployment

Demand for unemployment benefits up slightly
Posted at 5:23 PM, Apr 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-15 12:41:52-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Frustration is now leading to anger for many trying to file for unemployment here in Nevada. Those trying to file online say it’s impossible to get through.

Donna Van Norden was on her laptop for many hours over the weekend, trying to process her unemployment claim.

“When you try to log in. It takes a long time," she said. "And when it comes up, it’ll say the website is down for maintenance. 'Error, the website is down for maintenance.'"

She has to file weekly after being out of work for about a month. Van Norden was trying to rectify an issue involving a recent paycheck, instead she was shown error screens.

“If you can’t access what is even there, it puts everyone in a very stressful situation,” she said.

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Van Norden is part of a Facebook group “Unemployment Nevada Information and Help,” where fellow Nevadans help each other navigate the process. She says those in the group also have no luck getting answers over the phone.

“People spend 9, 10 hours a day on their phone on hold, and then their phone gets disconnected at closing time. So it’s hard,” she said.

Gov. Sisolak has acknowledged the phone issues, announcing Friday a vendor has been hired to add 100 people for a call center to start this week.

The state employment department says the call center will help answer general questions about unemployment benefits but won’t be able to answer case specific questions.

Van Norden says that’s progress, but she and others in the group want to see better communication from the state.

“People want to know what’s happening," she said. "We would rather have the bad news than no news, and we just haven’t gotten a lot of direction on the unemployment.”

The state employment department says there was a system maintenance on the website on Saturday from 1 p.m. to midnight. They also say their system does throttle down where the website does appear not to be loading to keep it from crashing. The department says it’s to keep up with the massive amount of traffic to the site.

Van Norden says she and others in the group acknowledge the employment department may be overwhelmed, but patience is running out.

“I don’t think anybody is so much blaming anybody, but this morning there is a lot of anger we haven’t been seeing before today,” she said.

We asked the employment office about the system maintenance and the enhancements made to improve the website, but we were told they could not answer that question for security reasons.

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