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Disabled slot machines inside the Tropicana Casino and Resort as seen on the Las Vegas Strip on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, after gaming operations were ordered closed by Governor Steve Sisolak. (Daniel Clark/The Nevada Independent)

Officials say it could take up to another 10 days for Nevada claimants to receive the fifth week of Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) unemployment payments and that a sixth week is not in the cards right now.

The Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR) issued a press release on Wednesday addressing some common questions about unemployment benefits, including the status of the federally funded, $300-per-week temporary add-on benefit. The process appears to be taking longer than expected; DETR officials previously said the payments would reach all claimants within 10 days of Thanksgiving. 

The agency also said a sixth week of the benefit is not planned unless the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants Nevada’s requests for more funds. DETR is paying LWA benefits from a finite pool of money, and has been trying to ensure it holds back enough money for late-filing claimants who qualify for the benefit — hence the uncertainty about whether a sixth week was viable.

DETR also addressed concerns about the impending expiration of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) on Dec. 26. 

“DETR is anxiously waiting to hear from Congress on whether they may extend the PUA program. DETR is hoping that they do,” the agency said. “As soon as Congress acts, DETR will update claimants as to next steps.”

Those who are stuck in the backlog — either because they haven’t had a preliminary determination of eligibility or because they are appealing a denial — would still receive payment if they are found to be eligible after the Dec. 26 expiration date.

“DETR is devoting even more resources to resolving the backlog,” the statement said.

Several proposals on another stimulus package and unemployment extensions are in discussion in Congress, but no agreement has been solidified as of Wednesday.

In the week ending Nov. 28, nearly 78,000 claims for weekly unemployment benefits were submitted to the PUA program in Nevada, and nearly 96,000 were submitted to the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which extends benefits for those who have exhausted regular benefits. Both programs are supported by the expiring CARES Act.

DETR Press Statement Dec. 9, 2020 by Michelle Rindels on Scribd

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