Nevada takes $10.7M from feds to help unemployment processing as claims surpass 400,000 |

Nevada takes $10.7M from feds to help unemployment processing as claims surpass 400,000

Geoff Dornan

DETR director Heather Korbulic.
Courtesy photo

Initial unemployment claims spike again

Initial claims for unemployment benefits spiked up again last week to 42,541. That is 3,045 more than were filed the week before.

Through the week ending April 25, a total of 412,211 claims have been filed this calendar year, according to new data released May 1 by the Nevada Department of Employment Training and Rehabilitation.

The number of continuing claims — those Nevadans continuing to receive weekly benefit checks — is now 274,850. Officials at the Employment Security Division said that number is 43,232 more than the previous week and is expected to continue increasing.

Officials say Nevada has now met the criteria to trigger extended benefits for those out of work, which will provide claimants an additional 13 weeks of benefits.

CARSON CITY, Nev. — The Interim Finance Committee on April 30 approved acceptance of up to $10.7 million in federal money largely to try to eliminate the huge backlog in people filing for unemployment.

Heather Korbulic, the newly-appointed director of the Department of Employment Training and Rehabilitation, told lawmakers that, before the virus struck, Nevada’s unemployment division was receiving 10,000 new claims for benefits per month.

“We’re now receiving 10,000 a day,” she said, adding that the current system runs through the state telephone system.

To try to fix the problem, she said they are putting together a contract to move the entire filing system to a cloud-based system because the state phone system is unable to handle the load.

Kimberly Gaa of the Employment Security Division said they are also working to get the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program that will enable the independent contractors, gig workers and others currently unable to get benefits to do so.

She said that program is designed to help those people who are “not otherwise eligible.”

Since many of those people are currently applying but can’t, yet, get benefits, Sen. Pete Goicoechea, R-Eureka, said it would make sense to tell those people to hold off until May 15 when the PUA program will hopefully go live.

Korbulic said now that the contracts have been executed, the department is working to put together some outreach to help people navigate the system

Gaa said they are also working on other changes to processes at the division to speed up and ease the process of applying for and receiving benefits.