State officials say certain unemployment claimants could see the $300-per-week add-on benefit that Congress approved in late December, along with their underlying weekly benefit payment, as early as this week.
The Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR) issued a detailed press release on Thursday with updates on the agency’s progress implementing changes from a federal coronavirus relief package.
DETR leaders have previously said that because extensions to the programs were not finalized until after they expired, and it could take weeks to receive critical guidance on implementation from the Department of Labor, claimants accustomed to receiving a weekly deposit were likely to experience a gap in that money. The agency is still waiting for final rules from the Department of Labor, and said the full slate of anticipated changes are expected to be implemented within four weeks.
"We were able to put in the changes needed so that most claimants will start receiving the extra $300 a week right away,” DETR Director Elisa Cafferata said in a statement. “We know Nevadans need help. I'm so proud of the dedicated staff at DETR who worked over the holidays so Nevada could be one of the first states in the county to implement this added benefit.”
Among the major changes that the state still needs to implement is reopening the claims of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) applicants who have exhausted the allotment of benefits to which they are entitled, adding additional weekly benefits and the $300 payment for each qualifying week. Taking into account an extension from the federal relief bill, claimants are allowed to draw up to 57 weeks of benefits through PUA. About 79,000 people are seeking PUA each week.
The agency said that people who have exhausted their allotment of weeks in the regular unemployment program and have moved on to Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) will automatically have their allowance of potential PEUC weeks bumped from 13 to 24. Some 95,000 people in Nevada are using PEUC, which is available only to people eligible for regular unemployment (not PUA) and was expanded by 11 weeks through the federal legislation.
Those who have already exhausted PEUC and have moved to the State Extended Benefits program can use up their eligibility weeks there, then will be moved back to PEUC when their extended benefits are exhausted, so they can capture more weeks in PEUC. Nearly 24,000 Nevadans are using extended benefits, which are available in select states that have very high unemployment rates.
DETR assured Nevadans that eligible claimants will eventually receive the money they are due from the congressionally approved extensions even if they don’t receive it instantly because of the implementation delay.
“Anyone eligible for the supplemental benefit who does not receive it immediately because of the delay in restarting the programs will receive it when their claim is processed,” the release said.