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Nevada unemployment office compliant with order to pay PUA applicants

Posted at 8:07 PM, Dec 31, 2020

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A judge hearing the lawsuit against the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR) says he sees progress in payments made to PUA claimants.

Washoe County Judge Barry Breslow ruled that DETR is in compliance with an order to pay PUA applicants, even though the state has to pay a $1,000 fine to the court.

This is after Judge Breslow says DETR has made improvements in its benefits processing. The deadline to demonstrate progress was on Dec. 24.

"The court is persuaded that its actions reflect and demonstrate substantial compliance from the prior order mandate from July," said Judge Breslow.

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However, many say more needs to be done since thousands have not been paid at all.

One of the lawsuit's lawyers, Mark Thielman, says he's been fighting for thousands of jobless self-employed and gig workers in Nevada.

Several PUA applicants and recipients have told 13 Action News that DETR needs to step up - especially in its communications.

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Thielman says the lawsuit will continue, and the next step is a briefing on Jan. 15 with the Nevada Supreme Court.

Nevada's unemployment office sent the following statement following Thursday's court hearing:

DETR is pleased to announce that today ​Judge Breslow ruled DETR is not in contempt of the court order he imposed in July. By the December 24th deadline, DETR demonstrated compliance ​by resuming payments for claimants meeting the narrow criteria in the Court's order. Specifically, the court ordered DETR to resume payments on a limited set of claims that had been stopped previously.

DETR acknowledges the District Court’s original order is on appeal with the Nevada Supreme Court and will be heard in the coming months.

It should be noted that at today’s hearing, Judge Breslow encouraged the parties to collaborate and resolve issues for claimants who meet the criteria set out by the order. The Judge expressed the hope that individual cases could be resolved without the need to file a declaration and appear in court. DETR has offered and continues to stand ready to examine and resolve any cases where payment began and was then stopped that is brought to its attention by Plaintiff’s counsel.

While not the subject of today's hearing, DETR’s progress in appeals was also discussed. To date in 2020, in regular UI, 7,200 appeal hearings have been completed and 200 are currently scheduled for a hearing in the coming weeks. For PUA, 200 appeal hearings have been completed and 320 are scheduled for a hearing in the coming weeks.