LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — “No pay, No vote." That’s the chant heard from frustrated people out of work and out of money, after trying for months to get their unemployment benefits from the state.
Friday, protesters took to the Vegas streets to demand action as they say they are frustrated and wondering where their unemployment checks are.
“Why aren’t they paying the people? We shouldn’t be out in the heat begging for money that is due to us,” Ingrid Thorbourne said.
Thorbourne says she hasn’t seen any money since she first applied for unemployment in March and then switched to PUA - Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
She joined others on Friday who shared her anger, with protesters saying they either weren’t getting answers or are having never-ending issues with their unemployment claims.
“We have so many people that are still sitting on the phones day in and day out, and they know they’re not answering,” Thorbourne said.
Numbers provided by DETR show about 117,000 PUA claims filed with about 47,500 claims paid out. DETR says the pending PUA claims are some of the most difficult to resolve with a bulk of them involving separation issues.
“For whatever reason, they separated from their employment, either their employer is disputing the separation and disputing the unemployment benefits,” Heather Korbulic, interim director for DETR, said.
The protesters say they’re tired of waiting and want to see concrete steps to address their concerns, something they haven’t seen yet.
“I can’t get in touch with anybody. So how do I fix it? You’re going around and around. It’s enough to make a person go crazy,” Georgina Hale said.
DETR says its phone lines have also been clogged with robocalls.
“Now we’re working on primarily making sure that calls can get through by implementing new phone systems and by addressing technological issues where robocalls were jamming or continuing to jam,” Korbulic said.
Protesters say they are skeptical of the robocall claim.
“Whatever it is. We’re not stupid people. Just let us know. Don’t tell us to keep calling,” Hale said.
Protesters say they are calling for Gov. Steve Sisolak to step in.
“Sisolak, you need to step up to the plate. You really need to help us,” Thorbourne said.