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Judge denies mandate for DETR to pay PUA claimants together, order for specific groups stands

Next court hearing scheduled for Sept. 10
Posted at 7:51 AM, Aug 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-20 21:08:52-04

UPDATE 12 P.M. During a hearing on Thursday, a judge formally denied a writ of mandamus ordering Nevada's unemployment department (DETR) to pay Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program (PUA) claimants in mass, but his previous order requiring the agency to pay certain groups still stands.

Special master, Jason Guinasso, made a report on DETR's progress and said the way things are done right now is frustrating for those who have been waiting a long time for their benefits.

“That process can take weeks and indeed sometimes in some of the examples, months,” he said.

Guinasso also suggested the state’s rapid response force on unemployment include the administrator of a PUA support Facebook group to help provide solutions.

“Having a claimant advocate as well as the perspective of claimants who have to navigate the Nevada system, would provide the strike force and DETR with valuable insight and perspectives,” he said.

Guinasso also said the Alorica call centers remain an issue with callers frustrated with the lack of information. He acknowledged DETR leadership is in the process of trying to make fixes.

“They’re looking at either getting Alorica to either the tools they need to be better at the job they’re contracted to do," he said.

During the hearing, the agency said: 243,963 PUA claims are unpaid, 186,826 have fraud flags and another 57,137 claims have non-fraud issues, like eligibility for other programs. That makes about 77% of claims flagged for fraud.

Next court hearing scheduled for Sept. 10.

A judge is reviewing how the Department of Employment is doing with paying PUA claimants who have spent months waiting for their money.

Payments for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program were frozen because of possible fraud.

Watch a replay below:

13 INVESTIGATES: New twist in unemployment frustration reveals DETR triple pay

DETR officials say about 3,000 claims have not been found to be fraudulent.

A lawsuit was filed against DETR and a judge ordered the department to pay those people immediately.