Updated May 29, 2020 - 12:35 pm
An employee from the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation tested positive for the new coronavirus this week.
Department Director Heather Korbulic confirmed the case Friday at a media briefing.
It’s unclear where the employee worked, but Korbulic said the agency was made aware of the positive case on May 26 and has since taken additional safety precautions at offices.
Pending payments, issues
Topics discussed in the media briefing mainly centered on steps taken for jobless Nevadans eligible for the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which offers unemployment insurance benefits to independent contractors, self-employed workers and gig workers under the $2 trillion stimulus bill.
Korbulic repeated that payments for PUA filers “who do not have a pending program eligibility issue” started Wednesday and will continue to be disbursed throughout the week.
“DETR will continue to process weekly claims in order of which they were received and will release payments accordingly,” she said.
Claimants have reported a number of messages alerting them to outstanding issues preventing the approval of their claim.
Department spokeswoman Rosa Mendez told the Review-Journal on Wednesday that the department continues to work on the two-week-old PUA filing system.
“We are needing to tune the system as we move through this new program and process to optimize the workflow to get to claim resolution at the earliest point in the process,” she said. “We do ask filers to be patient as we work through this new program and the related technology and policy.”
She said outstanding claim issues could also happen if filers answered application questions incorrectly or reported wages greater than their established work benefit amount, which would make them ineligible for benefits that week.
“Subsequent weeks they would be eligible for, providing they meet all other program requirements,” Mendez said.
Adjudicators on the way
Those whose claims require adjudication will be able to receive help starting Monday, according to Korbulic.
During the press conference, she said filers should receive updates and notifications about the process in their account mailboxes on the EmployNV website.
Mendez said earlier this week that resolutions can take up to 21 days “or in some cases longer due to high initial issue counts.” Under the CARES Act, claimants have 21 days to provide necessary documention, and standard law allows states to have up to 21 days to make a decision, she said.
The department also released data on the volume of initial claims, including for the PUA program and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which offers up to 13 weeks of additonal benefits for claimants who have exhausted their regular benefits.
The number of initial claims for unemloyment insurance was 15,607 for the week ending May 23, down 12.5 percent from the previous week. It was the fourth consecutive week of declines in the number of regular initial claims.
Self-employed workers and those eligible for the PUA program filed 37,567 initial claims in the week ended May 23, according to DETR.
Meanwhile, 4,745 claims were filed in the week by those who have exhausted their regular benefits and are seeking an additional 13 weeks of pay.