LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — More than 20,000 unemployment claims are currently delayed in Nevada, but some claimants say the Nevada Department of Employment, Rehabilitation and Training is asking them to pay back some of their money received.
"I was just checking online last night and I saw that they sent a notice of overpayment," said a Vegas native, who wanted to remain anonymous.
The longtime gaming technician said he was shocked to find DETR requesting nearly $12,000 in alleged overpaid unemployment benefits.
"I was told you have to apply every single week so that's what I did. I thought I was doing everything right every week applying," he said.
The Vegas man said he got a severance after being laid off from a gaming company in June. DETR documents show he would qualify for benefits after June 20 but began paying him weekly starting on April 10.
"My understanding was I got a severance, it was for my time served. And then now I'm unemployed, I have no job so I thought I was qualified for unemployment. Now, we're in a pandemic. There are just no jobs to find," he said.
He told 13 Action News that he's been looking for a job but in the meantime, his rent and bills haven't stopped flowing in.
"That money is long gone by now. And now they want this other money that I didn't know I was going to get and they gave it to me so I've been paying bills and whatnot," he said.
Even with the possibly erroneous unemployment benefits, he said he recently moved back in with his parents. There's just too much uncertainty.
"We've been budgeting, we had a plan and now, all of it's gone. They're basically like, you have to pay all this money back but I still haven't been able to find a job," he said.
Meanwhile, Franco Jaafar said he's been waiting 19 weeks for PUA payments and hasn't seen a dime. He estimated he's owed around $19,000.
He said he applied for the program when it first began accepting applications, received an acceptance letter, and has done everything he has been asked to do since and yet - nothing.
"I follow every procedure they ask me to do and I download every document. They will ask me for my tax return, for my ID, my passport, I haven't left the country - you name it, I send to them," he said.
Jaafar says there's no issue with his account. Just the same "in progress" message week after week. But while he waits, his life can't.
"The mortgage is delayed. The car payment is delayed. I mean, I'm going day by day. I wish I could go back to work."
And Jaafar is not alone.
DETR released new numbers Friday showing more than 230,000 unemployment claims were paid last week. However, there are more than 20,000 unpaid claims that are "delayed by issue."
13 Action News reached out to DETR to see how many of the more than 34,000 PUA claims filed last week were also delayed, but have not immediately heard back.
Meanwhile, Jaafar said he'd rather be working as he has since he was 16 years old. But as an independent contractor, who works mainly in the convention industry, he's had to do something he never wanted to do - ask for help.
"I never asked for unemployment. I never asked for money from the government or anything like that. I've been independent for most of my life but now, it's a hard time and I wasn't planning for it," Jaafar said.