As most people are aware, the CARES ACT provided additional unemployment assistance for unemployed workers, including those in Nevada. Because the Pandemic has forced businesses to close and placed restrictions on other businesses, many Nevadans lost their jobs. The Unemployment Security Division of the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation has been charged with administering unemployment assistance in Nevada. From the numerous calls we have received from panicked people, they have not done a very efficient job of administering these benefits. First, I will review the eligibility requirements for Unemployment. This Blog will also outline the additional benefits extended to unemployed workers by the CARES ACT and how to apply for those benefits. In this increasingly uncertain and changing time, TheOneLawyer.com is here to provide up to date information on current and relevant legal and community topics. Although many use these new terms interchangeably, the Covid-19 aka Corona Virus Pandemic is the event that spurred government to use its emergency powers to shut down our economy to “protect human life.” The CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) is the response by Congress and signed by the President that is new law enacted to provide special benefits to our citizens impacted by the shutdown.
The eligibility for unemployment assistance has not changed greatly. To be eligible for unemployment benefits in the state of Nevada, you must’ve been a person who was fully or partially employed and lost their job and become unemployed. You also must have earned enough wages to qualify and your status as unemployed cannot be a result of misconduct or fault on your part. This means you cannot be fired for cause and then be eligible for unemployment benefits. Sadly, hundreds of thousands of Nevadans have lost their jobs as a result of the Pandemic through absolutely no fault of their own. When you make a claim for unemployment benefits you must file your claim each week, you must be able to work, you must be available for work and you must be considered to be looking for new employment. The CARES ACT suspended the requirement to be looking for employment during the Pandemic. Eligible recipients of unemployment receive payment of benefits which is supposed to take place seven days after the filing their first weekly claim. We have been told by many people that have called our office that is taking weeks and weeks for them to receive their benefits. The CARES ACT also suspended the seven day wait time without benefits and pays benefits from the day workers lost their job. Even though the processing is slow, you will receive benefits from the first day that you lost your job and the State will pay them retroactively when they are late. http://ui.nv.gov/PDFS/UI_Claimants_Handbook.pdf
In Nevada, the maximum benefit is set at $469 per week for 26 weeks unless extended by law but this has been extended by the Federal Government through the CARES ACT. Under the CARES ACT, the federal government increased that amount by adding an additional $600 per week for unemployment to unemployed Nevadans.
Response to COVID-19
In response to the Pandemic, Nevada has put into place a waiver for the work search requirement and the seven day wait. This Means that people that have become unemployed as a result of the Pandemic are technically entitled to unemployment benefits more quickly. Although they are entitled to benefits more quickly, it does not appear that benefits are being paid more quickly. Other remedies provided by the CARES ACT for additional eligibility include the following:
1) You may be eligible for unemployment benefits if an employer that you previously worked for is forced to close due to the Pandemic restrictions and preventing their employees from coming to work.
2) You may also be eligible for unemployment benefits if you are quarantined and will be returning to your job when the quarantine is over
3) It may seem obvious, but if you are still working and receiving your pay you are not eligible for unemployment, even if your salary has been reduced.
4) The ACT also allows for some workers that have not traditionally been eligible for unemployment benefits such as self-employed workers, gig workers, independent contractors and other type of independent workers. Under the ACT, these workers are eligible for Pandemic unemployment assistance under public law 116-136 https://www.congress.gov/116/bills/hr748/BILLS-116hr748enr.pdf. For additional information about the current state of unemployment benefits in the state of Nevada during the Pandemic please see the following link https://detr.nv.gov/Page/Pandemic_Unemployment_Assistance(PUA) and
The CARES ACT was signed into law by the United States Congress on March 27, 2020. The ACT provided for many public benefits including the expansion of unemployment benefits. The ACT also provides for an additional $600 per week per applicant and an also provides each applicant with an additional 13 weeks of eligibility for unemployment which will help many Nevada families during this Pandemic. This allows for a total of 39 weeks of unemployment under the CARES ACT and other Nevada law. The ACT also expanded unemployment eligibility for workers who were not previously eligible including part-time employees and those who are self-employed. For more details regarding the additional benefits see the attached link
Applying for Unemployment Benefits During the Pandemic
Now this is where it can get a little bit difficult. During this Pandemic time there is no in person claim filing method available. All claims for unemployment must be filed online. The unemployment office provides an outline for applicants and step-by-step videos on how to file claims. However the backlog and the inefficiency of the website has created much stress among filers. The telephone line is only available at certain times and in fact the division has asked that filers only file on certain days. The employment Division is asking filers to file by their last name on the following days.
A to K file on Sundays;
L to R file on Mondays;
S to Z file on Tuesdays;
However, you can renew your claim regardless of your last name Wednesday through Saturday. On April 15, 2020 the ESD created a new call center to try to assist with the enormous influx of unemployment claims. Call centers number is 800-603-9671.
Under the CARES ACT, Nevada workers are eligible for up to 39 weeks of benefits. However if you are applying for benefits after the 26 weeks you must file the claim through this portal. There’s also instructions for this portal at the following link.
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