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Nevada employment agency gives weekly update

Updated July 31, 2020 - 6:32 pm

The final $600 payment for the last batch of federal unemployment benefits “have commenced” to eligible filers following a system glitch earlier this week, leaders of Nevada’s employment agency said Friday.

The state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation had a system error that disrupted some workers from receiving their last $600 weekly Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation payment — which was supposed to be received no later than Tuesday.

“A correction was released into the system Wednesday evening, and payments have commenced to filers,” Employment Security Division Administrator Kimberly Gaa said. “Filers will see payments through the next several working days.

David Schmidt, DETR’s chief economist, said the state’s unemployment trust fund balance was $550.2 million as of July 25, representing about 4.4 weeks left of benefit payments at current levels.

Should the trust fund run dry, Schmidt said, “the state would continue to pay unemployment benefits” by borrowing money from the federal government.

Rising unemployment claims

In a general update on the state’s unemployment insurance system, Schmidt said DETR has seen 611,090 initial claims filed this year through the week ending July 25.

Regular initial claims were 18,390 for the week ending July 25, up 18.3 percent, or 2,842 claims, from the previous week. It’s the fifth-straight week of increases in regular initial claims.

Self-employed workers and independent contractors under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program filed 34,072 initial claims for the same week, up 74.2 percent, or 16,536 claims, from the previous week.

PUA appeals system

Gaa said PUA filers now are able to file an appeal request through the EmployNV website. Appeal requests for previously issued eligibility determination will be honored for 30 calendar days from July 18.

“Filers need to watch for communication in their portal in August after filing their appeals request for next steps,” Gaa said.

No DETR breaches

DETR officials say they continue to receive questions regarding its data security for filing of fraudulent payments.

“This is not a result of any known breaches in Nevada DETR systems,” Gaa said Friday. “DETR is actively monitoring its systems and works with reputable companies and vendors to ensure that all data is maintained in a secure environment.”

The agency suspects that anywhere between 133,748 and 185,484 possible fraudulent unemployment claims have been filed. Former DETR employees told the Review-Journal that the agency could pay out claims quickly and still prevent fraud.

Contact Jonathan Ng at jng@reviewjournal.com. Follow @ByJonathanNg on Twitter.

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