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Thousands of Nevadans will lose unemployment if bill not signed

DETR bill
Posted at 11:57 AM, Dec 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-25 11:07:51-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Today, the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR) provided an update to Nevadans about a federal stimulus bill and how the delay in the passage and enactment of the stimulus bill will adversely affect Nevadans.

Congress has passed HR 133, bipartisan COVID relief legislation which would continue unemployment support for Nevada workers who have been so severely impacted by the pandemic. The President has not yet indicated whether he will sign the measure.

"As the latest federal stimulus bill moved through Congress to ultimate passage, the DETR team has been working tirelessly to prepare for any additional assistance and ensure eligible Nevadans are connected to their benefits. I was already frustrated with the late timing of this stimulus bill, but that frustration has only grown now that the President has created immense uncertainty on the future of this federal funding. His inaction and gamesmanship have put Nevada - and states across the nation - in an impossible situation. Unfortunately, and despite DETR's hard work, Nevadans will suffer because of the failures in Washington, D.C. to act in a timely manner," said Gov Sisolak.

"Nevadans are in dire need of relief and we need the federal government to act now so that DETR can ensure continuity for those in need." Many of the unemployment assistance programs put in place to help workers in this economic downturn expire on December 26, 2020. Without the extended time and additional benefits offered in HR 133, thousands of Nevadans will lose their benefits before the new year.

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If the bill is not signed, the following benefit programs end as of 12/26/20: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), and the State Extended Benefits (SEB) 7-week extension. The Unemployment Insurance (UI) program which consists of 26 weeks plus an SEB extension of 13 weeks will continue.

“As a result of Congress taking months to negotiate a deal, and the President now threatening a veto, Nevada families are about to face unbelievable hardship as their unemployment benefits stop on Saturday. Families are in a terrible position; our economy is still reeling from this pandemic; businesses are suffering and have not yet been able to rehire their employees. We urge Congress and the President think about the families about to lose their homes and their ability to support their children and resolve this crisis,” said Strike Force Leader, Barbara Buckley.

DETR will process all PUA claims filed this year and PUA claimants will be paid retroactively if they are eligible.

Unprocessed UI claims (backlog) will be processed, and eligible UI claimants will still receive backdated PEUC/SEB benefits.

If HR 133 is not signed, Nevada must end the programs listed above. DETR has the system programming in place to comply with this federal stop which could result in an estimated 199,322 claimants (from the varied federal benefit programs) losing benefits should the bill not be signed.

“As a State, we are being forced during the holidays to stop benefits for nearly 200,000 Nevadans because Congress and the President did not act in time. In addition to unemployment benefits, other critical services will be held up: help with emergency food assistance, emergency rental assistance, another round of small business grants and loans, efforts to prevent people from becoming homeless while we, as Nevadans, are working as hard as we can to prevent devastating outcomes for families,” said DETR Director, Elisa Cafferata.

If the bill is signed, eligible Nevadans will be able to continue to apply for benefits in several programs:

• Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC): additional weeks of federally funded benefits to workers who have exhausted their regular state unemployment UI benefits. HR 133 increases the weeks of PEUC benefits an individual may claim, from 13 to 24.
• Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA): which provides continued unemployment assistance to the self-employed, freelancers, gig workers, part-time workers and other individuals in non-traditional employment. HR 133 allows claimants to file for PUA benefits from the date the bill is enacted through March 14, 2021.