LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Frustration is turning into heavy doubt as filers are not confident they will ever see any unemployment checks.
The latest head scratcher involves an apparent glitch in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program that’s potentially keeping them from getting their checks.
Confusing codes and long wait times for help. These are just some of the issues facing people filing PUA claims.
“I didn’t think it was going to be this kind of a nightmare. I thought it would be a simple thing. You go online, put your credentials in and upload some certain things,” Salvatore Capano, a local personal trainer, said.
He applied for PUA when it first rolled out due to not being eligible for usual unemployment benefits. Capano says he and others bumped into outstanding claim issues with codes they didn’t understand.
“Most people don’t know what that is. D-U-A unemployment. There’s even one on mine that says holiday pay and working full time. There was no working full time,” Capano said.
This would prevent them from receiving their unemployment checks. He says people who’ve managed to reach a DETR representative says it appears to be a software glitch. Capano says more time should have been taken to work out the bugs.
“it’s better to get it correct than incorrect and we have an incorrect system with flags and errors, and stuff we shouldn’t see, and there’s people confused and people giving up,” he said.
“In some ways they’re building the airplane in the air.”
Jeremy Aguero with Applied Analysis says he’s not surprised to see the issues during the roll out of the PUA program, with outdated technology and understaffing. He says Nevada’s history on “small” and efficient governing is not helping this time.
“We hold it out as a badge of honor that we make less of an investment in the public sector than other states do, and sometimes that’s paid dividends for us and other times at a cost,” he said.
Aguero also says the ongoing issues take into account the sheer volume of unemployment claims in the state. He says no current system could handle that.
“We’re talking about 67,000 filing during the worst of the Great Recession and more than 440,000 during the first 8 weeks of the COVID-19 crisis,” he said.
Capano says he needs the money to provide for his family and says many others like him are losing patience with the system and want to see fixes.
“We need help. We need money on the people’s table that we are entitled to,” he said.
We did reach out to DETR about this specific issue, but we didn’t hear back by deadline.