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WATCH: Nevada DETR giving update on unemployment claims

DETR
Posted at 9:33 AM, Jul 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-10 20:23:23-04

The Nevada Department of Employment, Training & Rehabilitation is holding its weekly press conference about unemployment claims at 10 a.m. Friday.

Check back here for a livestream at that time.

A full copy of DETR’s prepared remarks are as follows:

Kimberly Gaa, Administrator, DETR Employment Security Division

Good morning and thank you for joining us today, I am Kimberly Gaa, the Administrator of the Employment Security Division. Please note, press briefings are providing generalized information sharing about DETR ESD programs and process and not specific to any one claim. Please note that as indicated in the media advisory, we are not able today to address questions at this morning’s briefing.

A short thank you to the DETR team and all our partners for the continued critical work being done to connect Nevadans to benefits.

With me today is our State’s Chief Economist Dave Schmidt. He will be providing us the updated Unemployment Insurance and the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) data.

Dave Schmidt, NV Chief Economist

Standard Unemployment Insurance is for Nevadans who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. These are people whose employer pays taxes into the Unemployment Insurance program through the state trust fund, and who both earned enough wages and worked enough hours to be eligible for those benefits.

As of July 04, 2020 562,482 total claims have been filed for standard unemployment insurance on the UINV site. This number includes both new claims and reopened claims with intervening employment. 540,834 of those claims have been filed since March 14.

Of those eligible filers who filed weekly claims for unemployment in the week ending June 27 – 233,217, or 90% of eligible claims were successfully paid. The number of weekly claims largely held steady from the prior week, down by just a couple thousand.

13,405 people filed for benefits but were employed and not eligible because they had earnings for the week greater than the weekly benefit amount.

3,413 people had insufficient hours and/or wages to qualify for UI benefits.

38,578 people did not file a claim for the week, down slightly from last week. These are folks who started, but did not finish their weekly claim, never started, or reported that they were not going to file a claim for the week. Federal law requires that filers file weekly claims in order to receive payment.

Finally, there are 22,011 other unpaid claims. These are filers whose claims are being held because federal and state law require DETR to adjudicate their claims. This number also includes claims that have been identified as fraud.

PUA is Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for those individuals classified as contract, 1099 and gig workers not otherwise covered under traditional UI, have exhausted UI benefits and extensions. Filers must be unemployed, underemployed, unable to work or unavailable for work in a particular week due to COVID-19.

To-date, Nevada has taken 307,749 PUA initial claims. As of July 6, and 275,725 of these have had a weekly claim filed (90%). Please note, the methodology for estimating this number has changed from prior weeks. As of July 9, 105,207 claims have been paid over $1.02 billion.

Compared to Nevada’s estimated 82,000 self-employed workers, Nevada has paid out over $4,400 per worker in regular PUA benefits alone, the 8th highest level among all states.

DETR has paid out over $ 4.3 billion dollars across all UI and CARES Act programs, since the start of the pandemic, far higher than all the benefits paid in both 2009 and 2010 combined.

Next week, the Research & Analysis Bureau will release our monthly estimates of employment and unemployment in Nevada, which will reflect the state’s economy as of the middle of June. And as always, our weekly unemployment claim report is available at NevadaWorkforce.com.

Administrator Gaa

The quarter change has occurred the first week in July – DETR is required per DOL guidance to verify that all PUA claimants are not newly eligible for standard UI benefits at the quarter change. DETR expects to launch functionality into EmployNV this weekend to verify for new UI eligibility DETR will be posting on its website and sending out additional information through press release regarding details associated with launch this once as they become available. Note that filers for PUA that have new eligibility for UI benefits will receive determinations starting next week. Any filer with new UI eligibility will be advised to file a UI claim in UInv. If you are notified of this, please go to ui.nv.gov and follow the claimant guide instructions for filing.

Many people have inquired about PUA appeals functionality. We expect this functionality to be available the middle of this month. Please watch for updated press releases for the announcement of this go live functionality. We intend to take technological delays into account when processing and reviewing requests for appeals after the listed deadline on notices. Appeals for previously issued decisions will be honored for 30 calendar days after the functionality is live.

We have received inquiries regarding issues with the system from the weekend of June 27-28th. Approximately 1000 PUA claim filers had access to their claims affected, resulting in the system generating notice to file a new claim. We have identified these accounts and DETR has worked closely with our vendor on addressing this access issue. We have confirmed that no claim information was lost. These claims should now be restored to full viewability and access for those filers. We ask these filers to verify they can access their claim information and contact the Alorica call center if they remain still unable to access.

DETR continues to look for ways to provide additional resources to the adjudication process. Existing automated jobs remain in place while current waivers for items such as work search remain in effect. These will remain to expedite issue resolutions on claims for the immediate future. Changes to these waivers remain tracking with the Governor’s opening phases. As previously reported, the reopening of in person of workforce services through the Job Connect offices remains undetermined at this time.

As a reminder, DETR cannot provide comments regarding inquiries related to current litigation.

Updated information is being asked of the DETR in regard to fraud. As previously reported, we cannot comment on fraudulent claim details or on specifics related to active investigations. Nevada remains actively working with State and Federal law enforcement entities and the Department of Labor to address fraud.

It is important to note that it will never be the case that 100% the total number of UI and PUA claims filed are paid. There will always be ineligible claims and that universe of ineligible claims includes fraud.

DETR would like anyone that thinks they have been a victim of fraud or know someone is committing fraud, please visit our website at detr.nv.gov and select the Fraud Reporting Form on the left-hand side under out quick links to file a report. Note that action to resolve these reports may or may not include contact from our office.

If you suspect your identity has been stolen, please report to AG’s office at their website at ag.nv.gov under the Victims of Crime section select Identity Theft for further guidance.

Fraudulent filings are not related to a data-breach with unemployment; however, they may be related to other data-breaches that have occurred exposing personal information from a variety of different sources. You can review information about nationally noted breaches through www.indentityforce.com/blog/2020-data-breaches [indentityforce.com]. We will provide this website information after the press briefing.

Some things to consider to protect yourself:

  • Know who has your personal identifying information and how it is used
  • Know how to protect your information
  • Ask how you can remove unnecessary information or information that is not required for the service you are receiving
  • Check credit reports, banking information, medical information that may have details that need to be removed or secured.
  • Do not provide or validate your personal information from contacts not initiated by you.
  • Protect and update passwords to your online accounts regularly.
  • Use additional security measures provided for your accounts wherever available.
  • Report suspected identity theft to our Nevada Attorney General’s Office or through your local law enforcement agency.
  • Remove old accounts and passwords that are no longer in use.

Note that Unemployment fraud is considered a felony under Nevada Revised Statute. Nevada will be following fraudulent claims up to and including prosecution and other civil remedies afforded under law. We will be limiting further information related to any investigations and will not be sharing details to protect the case integrity.

There is no cost to file a claim online and persons offering to complete claims for fees or to access your personal information are not authorized by DETR. We strongly advise that Nevadans use guidance from DETR as a trusted source of information. We continue to hear from many people who are getting information from alternate sources and the information is often inaccurate and out of date.

Thank you for your continued interest and collaboration. We look forward to speaking with you again next Friday with additional updates and information.