Las Vegas, Nevada 2022-05-24 19:01:34 –
Las Vegas (KTNV) — If you are unemployed, the need for unemployment benefits is as great as during a pandemic.
However, the Nevada Employment Training and Rehabilitation Department, which is responsible for providing assistance to the unemployed, has been delayed for months to provide its financial lifeline.
It may sound like déjàvu again, but it raises real concerns for people in need and state leaders.
For example, consider the case of plaintiff Brittany Evans. Evan’s daughter is learning to count, and most days she feels that toddlers understand numbers better than DETR.
“I’m told different people. I feel DETR should do the right training so that everyone can be on the same page with respect to someone’s money and life,” Evans said. Said. “This is serious. There is nothing to play. They have a job. I don’t!”
Brittany has been fighting for profit for six months.
“I lost my job from Bank of America on December 1st,” she said. “I’m done.”
Instead of getting money from DETR, they say she owe them.
“I don’t know how, I don’t know why,” Evans said.
Her DETR dashboard says she has to repay nearly $ 15,000 to the state.
“I couldn’t get the money,” she said. “So who did the money go to? Because Brittany Evans didn’t get the money.”
Her DETR dashboard shows that she has made one payment in the last four years.
“The last time I made a profit was in 2020, which was only $ 1,260,” Evans said. “Other than that, I haven’t received any funding from the unemployment office.”
When she tries to explain it to a DETR representative over the phone, Evans says, “They don’t want to hear. They don’t have a supervisor. And they don’t help at all!”
“DETR is on the same vessel as most state agencies and many employers, which means it’s hard to find staff,” said DETR director Elisa Cafferata at a legislative hearing in April before the Interim Commerce and Industry Commission. Stated.
“I think there are about 300 positions available in DETR,” Cafferata told lawmakers, again leading to blocked phone lines and long wait times.
“I’m still waiting for the appeal department,” Evans said. “They keep telling me they have been backed up for 6 or 7 months.”
It’s a time Evans doesn’t have. She is still looking for a new job, and now she and her four children have recently been kicked out of their apartment, so she needs to live in a new place.
“I’m a working mom,” she said. “Because of the fact that unemployment has blown me away and beat me, the inability to feed my family at this time of need hurt me.”
Cafferata told legislators that as of March, there were nearly 33,500 outstanding claims, which were as bad as they were during some of the pandemics.
“One of the reasons for this backlog is that we lost a lot of the support and additional support we received during the pandemic,” says Cafferata.
Federal funding for hiring external contract staff was exhausted in September 2021.
Also, 200 people from the welfare department helped DETR, but they are back to normal work.
“People who are unemployed because they can’t be used under federal regulations. They have over a year of experience in handling unemployment benefits, but the people they can hire are brand new. They need to be trained,” Cafferata said. increase. He said.
Plaintiff Lazaro Valdes experienced its direct impact.
“I talked to multiple people,” Valdes said. “There are several different answers.”
Valdes, a postmate food delivery driver, was unemployed for several months during the pandemic.
He is working again now, but he never got paid otherwise.
“And I feel like I can’t say anything. I’ve been in communication with DETR and PUA for the longest time,” he said. “They are technically in debt of $ 9,900, almost $ 10,000, but receive a penny from retroactive payments of four months unemployed in 2020 or two months unemployed in 21. Is not.”
He was given multiple reasons for refusal and provided all the documentation to fight it, but he couldn’t get a solution.
“It’s like a script,” Valdes said. “They say the same thing every time. They say all your documents have been submitted, just wait for the call. Round 1, Round 2, Round 7, Round 20, Well, this phone is When will you come? “
“I know people need money now,” Cafferata told Congressman. [the longest] As soon as possible, there is no good answer for that. “
At the hearing, Nevada Senator Roberta Lange (D-Las Vegas) said, “These people are people who can’t pay rent, can’t buy food, can’t pay electricity, and the one who sent me an email. Some have been waiting for more than 9 months. “
Lange asked DETR how he could get people up and running faster.
“I wish I had a better answer,” said Cafe Rata. “We’re running out of people with legal authority, money, and the expertise to do this job, and as I said, this is the most frustrating thing I’ve ever done. “
Evans has reached the limit of “honestly, distraught.”
For people like her and Valdes, the expression of frustration in Cafe Rata is preached by the choir, which is hardly a happy song.
They have made some progress since they started working with Evans and Valdez. Evans finally received the long-awaited call from the supervisor, and Valdes held a hearing at the end of May.
For the big picture, DETR is asking state legislators to ask federal parliamentarians for staffing and funding assistance to eliminate any outstanding material.