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STATE: People may soon see relief with extensions on unemployment programs

By Jeri Davis

The Department of Employment, Training & Rehabilitation (DETR)  announced that all unemployment insurance (UI) claimants and all Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claimants who still have weeks of eligibility in their accounts will see their regular weekly benefit and the federal supplement of $300 in their accounts as early as this week.

“We have to wait until the Department of Labor issues the rules before we can implement many of the changes in the new law,” said DETR Director Elisa Cafferata. “We were able to put in the changes needed so that most claimants will start receiving the extra $300 a week right away.  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.”

Information for those on unemployment insurance 

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) provides up to 11 additional weeks of federally funded benefits to workers who have exhausted their regular state unemployment UI benefits.  The number of PEUC benefit weeks an individual may claim increased from 13 to 24 weeks through the week ending March 13, 2021. PEUC is not available to PUA claimants.

Anyone who was on PEUC will continue to be on PEUC, and their eligible weeks were automatically extended in accordance with the new federal law.

Anyone who had a balance on their PEUC extension as of Dec. 26, 2020 but had already filed a State Extended Benefits (SEB) claim early, will be automatically placed back on PEUC in order to capture the additional weeks.

Anyone who had exhausted PEUC prior to Dec. 26, 2020 and went on SEB will stay on SEB. At the end of SEB, they will be placed back on PEUC up to the expiration of the program.

As soon as all additional guidance is provided by the Department of Labor, programming will be updated for all the programs. Depending on the complexity of the guidance, it is anticipated that these changes should be implemented within four weeks.

Information for those on or seeking Pandemic Unemployment Assistance  

PUA provides continued unemployment assistance to the self-employed, freelancers, gig workers, part-time workers and other individuals in non-traditional employment. People can file for PUA benefits for a maximum of 50 weeks. Due to Nevada’s high average insured unemployment rate, the state is currently able to offer an additional seven weeks of benefits, bringing the total benefit weeks to 57 weeks. No new PUA applications will be accepted after March 13.

Changes for existing PUA claimants: 

All claim benefit balances will be updated. For those without additional weeks right now, whose claim is exhausted, claims will be reopened with additional weeks and the supplemental $300 added. There is no need to take action now. Do not open a new claim.

For anyone with a quarter change as of Jan. 1, 2021, the quarter change will not stop payment.

If someone was previously disqualified from PUA, they are still disqualified for the new benefit period. If the claim has an appeal pending, and is determined to be eligible, the person will receive all benefits for all eligible weeks.

Changes for new PUA claimants: 

New claims will be accepted. Per federal law, no new claims will be permitted to receive payments prior to Dec. 6, 2020.

Due to additional requirements for new PUA filers, DETR must update the PUA application programming before new PUA claims can be filed.

Other important things to note:

Existing UI and PUA claimants should continue to file their weekly claims.

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), the extra $300 benefit, ends on the week ending March 13, 2021. 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.

Any unprocessed claims in the backlog will receive retroactive benefits, if found eligible.

If a person has unexpired benefits after March 13 for PUA or PEUC, the person may continue receiving benefits through April 10 with the exception of FPUC which stops on 3/13/21.

Eligible people who file their weekly claims will receive the additional weeks and the weekly FPUC $300 automatically and should avoid calling the call center if at all possible to inquire about these benefits.DETR encourages claimants to visit its website to view important announcements and access essential resources. Additional updates will be provided as information becomes available.

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