PUA confusion remains two months after launch

By KOLO News Now

MINDEN, Nev. (KOLO) – A Minden man is pleading for better communication with Nevada’s Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation (DETR) responsible for administering the pandemic unemployment assistance fund (PUA).

Steve Yates says he first applied for PUA funds when they became available May 16.

Nearly two months later he says he has no idea where his application stands or even he’ll get this benefit made possible through the Federal Department of Labor and the CARES Act.

“The frustrating part is that I don’t know where I stand. I don’t know if I’m going to get the funds or what,” said Yates.

Yates said constant companions are confusion, frustration, and worry.

He said these problems could be removed. It would only take one simple conversation with a representative from DETR.

“My day consisted of for almost three solid weeks during the week I would get my cell phone out and I would carry it around with me and I would continuously redial that number for about four to five hours a day and I have never gotten through,” said Yates.

He’s already invested roughly 75 hours of his time in phone calls to DETR. “I was always put on hold,” he said.

When he goes to the website for PUA applicants in Nevada, he said there is no clear indication of where he stands.

Steve admits he’s better off than most. His wife Yvette is back to work as a hair stylist. He lives in a nice home in a comfortable neighborhood, but this PUA money isn’t about keeping a roof over his head, it’s about protecting his retirement.

“We were going to use that as I get older, not now, and so we’re using our savings now,” said Yates.

You see, he owns his own business called Margarita Man.

He rents margarita machines for parties, but business flat lined in May and June. It dropped to 10 percent of what is was last year in July of 2020.

The PUA money would prevent Steve and Yvette from dipping into their retirement fund and would protect their golden years 10 and even 20 years down the road.

He says he would like to know the best step to take for his financial future, but this is impossible as long as DETR leaves him in the dark about the status of his application.