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Governor to backdate unemployment claims

Gov. Steve Sisolak on Tuesday announced he is instructing the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation to backdate all unemployment insurance claims to the earliest date of eligibility to help thousands of Nevadans gain easier access to unemployment insurance benefits.

The governor went into some detail about the state’s staggering unemployment statistics in announcing his directive to DETR.

“More than 300,000 of our fellow Nevadans have applied for unemployment benefits over the last 30 days,” the governor said. “That’s one in every ten Nevadans. In the weeks between March 14 and April 4, Nevada saw the three highest numbers of initial weekly unemployment insurance claims on record for our state.

“In the week ending on April 4th, over 79,000 Nevadans filed initial unemployment insurance claims. That is nearly nine times as many initial weekly claims as the highest week in the Great Recession, which was 8,900 in January 2009.”

Yearly records set during the Great Recession are well on their way to being shattered, Sisolak said.

“In all of 2009, over 329,000 Nevadans filed initial unemployment claims. We’re already approaching that number for 2020, and it is only April 14,” Sisolak said. “We’ve already surpassed the total number of weekly initial claims filed in every other year during the Great Recession. In 2008, there were 250,000 claims, and in 2010 there were 260,000.

“I say all this to demonstrate the magnitude of what we are facing right now.”

Nevadans who have been unable to file a claim because of the unprecedented volume will not lose any benefits as a result of the overwhelming surge in demand.

“Many have said they can’t get through on the phones, even after calling all day,” Sisolak said. “Others have expressed frustration with password resets. Folks have told my office that the website is too slow to file. These are real concerns, and I hear them.”

Delays in getting through to an unemployment office meant delays in receiving benefits, leading to Tuesday’s action.

“Whenever your application was submitted, you will be paid retroactively, and there’s no more action you need to take for this to go through if you have already filed your initial claim,” Sisolak said. “For individuals filing for unemployment, this is great news and will provide Nevadans out of work more money in their pockets to pay their bills and start the road to recovery.”

Sisolak also announced that Nevada is among the early states in the country that will be dispersing the additional $600 from the federal CARES Act to everyone who is currently receiving unemployment benefits. These payments will be backdated as well. Some may begin to see this payment as early as April 15, and staggered payments will continue to go throughout the week.

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