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State hires call center to help ease unemployment claims

Updated April 10, 2020 - 9:23 am

CARSON CITY — Facing an unprecedented volume of unemployment insurance claims amid the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Steve Sisolak announced Thursday that the state is bolstering its workforce to handle those claims via a third-party vendor.

The governor’s office said in a news release that the third-party call center will add 100 full-time workers to boost the state’s capacity to handle the increase in unemployment claims that the state has received after Sisolak ordered all casinos and nonessential businesses in Nevada to close last month. More than 250,000 Nevadans have filed for unemployment. Future staff could be added as needed, the release said.

“I am optimistic that this new call center will further expedite much-needed relief to Nevadans who have struggled to connect via phone,” Sisolak said in a statement.

The governor’s office did not identify the call center vendor that it is partnering with to provide the additional help and said the numbers to the call center would be announced later “as soon as they become available.”

Regarding the name of the vendor, Sisolak spokesman Ryan McInerney said, “We’ll make that information available as soon as we can.”

The Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation said earlier this week that it had nearly tripled the staff processing unemployment insurance claims through new hires and reassignments. The governor’s office release said that those changes boosted staffing from 75 to more than 200.

Despite the staffing increases, some Nevadans have struggled to file their claims because of site issues and lengthy delays on the state’s phone line.

“Although DETR has recently tripled staff in support of the UI program, we acknowledge that some filers continue to face challenges with the UI phone system,” DETR Director Tiffany Tyler-Garner said in a statement. “We are very pleased to partner with the Governor’s Office in finding a resolution to the challenges proposed by the record number of calls received at our centers.”

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

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