LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — As lawmakers work in Carson City to shave $1.2 billion from the state budget, there's another painful offshoot from the shutdown - thousands of people laid-off and not being paid unemployment checks.
“Every night I go to bed crying because I don’t know what else to do," said Cindy Jones.
It’s a feeling of desperation for Jones, still waiting to get her checks for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
She was approved to receive payments but still hasn’t seen the money come into her bank account for weeks. Jones says she has tried calling the Department of Employment, Training & Rehabilitation multiple times a day to resolve issues.
“Nobody can help you. They send you back and forth and back and forth,” Jones said.
She also says other members of her family are facing the same issues, not getting their payments. Jones says she can’t survive for much longer.
“We’re lost. We’ve lost our car. We’re on the verge of losing our home,” Jones said.
Gov. Steve Sisolak says he understands the frustrations of some applicants but says most applicants are being paid and DETR is doing its best.
“No program was set up and possibly and remotely anticipated this kind of demand. It just didn’t exist. No one contemplated,” he said.
DETR is now facing a class-action lawsuit over the lack of payments. The judge hasn't ruled but said he expects better.
Gov. Sisolak says the process has taken some time as DETR investigates about 10,000 cases of fraud. He says the filing attorney's suggestion to just simply pay all accepted applicants at once and then try to get money back from possibly fraudulent claims, could violate the Department of Labor regulations.
“If we don’t follow those rules, we jeopardize everybody’s payments and that’s not something I’m willing to do. We need to be cautious about this. Yes, I would like to get to people faster, but we’re doing it as quickly as we can, and we continue to bring more people on board,” Gov. Sisolak said.
Jones says she wants to see more action from the governor.
“He needs to be more involved, instead of making us feel he doesn’t care. That’s how my whole family feels because he’s getting a paycheck,” she said.
Jones says she’ll be part of the lawsuit herself if she doesn’t see payment soon.