Due to the danger posed by the coronavirus, Nevada workers are being asked to file unemployment benefits claims online through the Claimant Self Service Portal. This is also called the Unemployment Insurance Claim Filing System. The Telephone Claim Centers (TCCs) are solely for people who cannot file online. Numbers for the TCCs differ based on area: northern Nevada is 775-684-0350; southern Nevada is 702-486-0350; and for rural or out-of-state callers is 888-890-8211.
The Employment Security Division (ESD) of the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR) has come up with a system that requires a claimant to file for benefits based on the first letter of their last name. A person with a last name that begins with A through K should file on Sunday, L through R on Monday, and S through Z on Tuesday. Any claimant can initiate or renew a claim on Wednesday through Saturday.
Nevada Unemployment Insurance
Ordinarily, only workers who have experienced a layoff or had their hours substantially reduced are eligible to receive unemployment benefits. A worker who has exhausted their benefits through the state will remain eligible for unemployment benefits during the pandemic through the federal government’s Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program. The PEUC provides up to 13 weeks of regular unemployment insurance for eligible claimants whose funds have been paid out.
During the pandemic, self-employed people and independent contractors are also eligible for federal economic assistance. The assistance takes the form of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which provides up to 50 weeks of benefits for eligible individuals.
Total Unemployment Assistance Amount
The maximum benefit amount for state unemployment assistance is $469 a week. Federal legislation passed in December 2020 extends benefits offered through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and provides an additional $300 a week. The $300 CARES Act supplement is set to expire on March 14, 2021. Some self-employed persons and independent contractors may be eligible for an additional $100 per week supplemental payment through the new Mixed Earnings Unemployment Compensation Program.
Steps After Initial Claim
After a person files their initial claim, DETR will mail them a Notice of Monetary Determination. This document shows their weekly benefit amount, maximum benefits amount and eligible number of weeks. The claimant should file weekly claims beginning every Sunday for the prior week.
Eligibility for Nevada PUA
An individual may be eligible for PUA if they have exhausted all UI and PEUC benefits. A self-employed person or independent contractor must be able to show that their ability or availability to work has been affected by COVID-19. This is true if the person experienced a slowdown in business due to COVID-19 which forced them to suspend operations.
It is also true if a worker, a self-employed person or an independent contractor saw their place of employment or business close as a direct result of the pandemic. It is also true if the individual has a child or a person for whom they are the primary caregiver, and that person had their school or facility closed due to the pandemic. A person is also eligible for PUA if they or a family member have been diagnosed with or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
Proving Self-Employment Income for a PUA Claim
A self-employed person or an independent contractor should have documents providing their income for tax year 2019 when filing for PUA. If they lack these documents, they will still be eligible for a minimum payment of $181 per week plus the additional $300. They can increase the amount by submitting proof of income anytime during the period during which they are receiving PUA. DETR will adjust the claim with a Notice of Monetary Determination that will apply to all weeks.
Eligibility for Unemployment Assistance
DETR’s handbook on Nevada Unemployment Insurance states that a worker is only eligible for unemployment assistance if they experienced a layoff or saw their hours reduced through no fault of their own. The worker is not eligible if they quit without good cause or were discharged for misconduct.
If there is a potential issue regarding eligibility, the person should continue to file their weekly claim. Later they will be called for an interview. Following this, DETR will make a determination of eligibility.
Refusing an Offer of Employment
A worker who refuses an offer of employment or tells their employer they refuse to return to work will not be eligible for unemployment benefits. But if the person has good cause to refuse to return to work, they will remain eligible for unemployment benefits. During the pandemic, such reasons include being 65 years of age or older, being at high risk for contracting the virus, or face an unreasonable risk of exposure to the virus at their place of employment.
When to File a Claim in the State of Nevada
A worker should file a claim the first week they are unemployed or see a substantial reduction in work hours. A new or reopened claim will take effect on the Sunday of the week in which they file. The person can file a claim anytime online. A Telephone Claim Center can only take a new claim or reopen an existing one Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Find Employer’s True Name
A company may be listed under its corporate or legal business name. They may not be listed under their doing business as (DBA) name. A worker can look at their payroll check stub, W-2 form and bank direct deposit records to find their employer’s legal business name. Nevada has a high number of shell companies, so it can take time to identify the name and headquarters of an employer.
Streamlined Procedures With DETR
Typically, Nevada Unemployment Insurance required a claimant to look for work for every week they claimed UI benefits. When the pandemic began, DETR eliminated the work search requirement for all claimants. DETR also streamlined UI procedures and expanded eligibility. This made it possible for an ESD administrator to waive or modify the period during which a person is usually prohibited from receiving unemployment benefits due to receipt of certain compensation, such as severance pay or vacation pay.
Casinos and Unemployment Benefits
In mid-February 2021, Nevada Gov. Sisolak issued Emergency Directive 037, which adjusts statewide standards on gatherings and other areas. Nevada Health Response’s Large Gathering Venue COVID-19 Preparedness & Safety Plan Submission Guide provides that the directive affects casinos in Las Vegas and throughout the state. The directive allowed gaming floors to be at only 35 percent capacity, so many casino workers remain furloughed on a forced temporary leave of absence. If the individual is paid while they are furloughed, they may not be eligible for unemployment benefits, but if the furlough involves reduced pay or no pay, they may be eligible for benefits.
Notes for Multi-state Workers
A person who works or worked in other states beyond Nevada recently should identify their places of residence, base of operations and where they performed services. They will need this information to determine the state to which they should report their wages. If they performed some services in Nevada and temporary services in other states, they must report all wages to Nevada.
If they performed some services in Nevada and some services in other states which are more than temporary, they should report all wages to the state in which their base of operations is located. A base of operations is the fixed center from which the person works.
Services Offered by DETR
DETR offers Nevadans assistance with finding employment through the pandemic. Candidates can perform job searches and career centers throughout the state that offer virtual appointments. DETR is also continuing its Rapid Response program, specifically designed to respond to large-scale layoffs and plant closures. Through Rapid Response, DETR employees provide information on the labor market and help with resume writing and interviewing skills.
Returning to Work
A worker who returns to a job on a part-time basis may be eligible for unemployment assistance for the deficit of their weekly benefit amount, as well as PEUC or PUA. They should continue to file and report the income they earned for the week. If their earnings are equal to, or more than, their weekly benefit amount, they are ineligible for that week of benefits.
Filing an Appeal for Unemployment Insurance Benefits
A claimant who has been denied unemployment benefits has the right to an appeal. After they have filed the appeal, an appeals referee employed by the ESD will conduct a hearing, and the referee will issue their decision two to three weeks later.
A claimant should continue to file weekly claims while waiting for the appeal decision. If they do not agree with the referee's decision, the claimant should appeal to ESD’s board of review. Typically, the person must file an appeal within 11 days after the decision has been mailed. During the pandemic, DETR has extended the 11-day deadline for good cause for a PUA filer to have a sufficient opportunity to file an appeal.
Dealing With Missing Wages
A person who notices wages missing from their pay stub or finds that an employer failed to list wages earned in their base period should file a wage protest request during the registration process or when filing a new UI claim. The individual should have a document that is proof of their earnings. ESD’s Monetary Unit will then investigate the wage protest and issue a resolution.
Notices of Overpayment
A person who is disqualified from UI or PUA benefits retroactively and who did receive benefits will receive an overpayment notice from DETR. Repaying the amount of the overpayment is mandatory under federal law. A claimant who disagrees with the overpayment notice can file an appeal.
A claimant should file the appeal instructions on their determination letter. PUA appeals can only be submitted online through the EmployNV.gov portal. An appeal must be in writing, signed and include the claimant’s Social Security number and the reason for filing the appeal.
Nevada Unemployment FAQs
When are UI benefits paid? They are paid within two business days of filing a weekly claim. What if a person has not received a UI payment? The benefits may be on hold because of eligibility issues. A person can check the status of their claim online or by calling a Telephone Claim Center and choosing option #3.
Is there currently a waiting week for UI benefits? Yes, the waiting week was reinstated in August 2020.
How can a claim be ended? The claimant should stop filing their weekly unemployment claims.
How can a person get through to the call center on the phone lines? Choose the option for Virtual Hold, which automatically saves the person’s call position. An ESD staff member will return the call when the person’s place in line is reached.
How can a claimant know whether there is money on their UI debit card? Visit www.bankofamerica.com/nevadauidebitcard.
- Nevada Division of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
- Nevada Division of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation: Claimant Self Service Portal
- Nevada Division of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation: Official homepage
- Nevada Unemployment Insurance: Frequently Asked Questions
- Nevada Legislature: COVID-19, Unemployment assistance for Nevadans
- Nevada Division of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation: Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
- Nevada Division of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation: Unemployment insurance appeals
- State of Nevada Executive Department: Declaration of Emergency, Directive 037
- Nevada Health Response: Large Gathering Venue COVID-19 Preparedness & Safety Plan, Submission Guide
- Nevada Division of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation: Employment Security Division, Rapid Response
- Nevada Division of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) FAQ’s
- Nevada Division of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation: Nevada Unemployment Insurance Facts for Claimants
- Nevada Division of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation: Overpayment FAQs
- Nevada Division of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation: COVID-19 coronavirus FAQs
- Nevada Division of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation: Covid-19 (Coronavirus) Information Unemployment Insurance Filers and Employers Need to Know
Jessica Zimmer is a journalist and attorney based in northern California. She has practiced in a wide variety of fields, including criminal defense, property law, immigration, employment law, and family law.