employment law

Nevada residents – including freelancers, gig workers and 1099 contract workers – who are ineligible for regular unemployment insurance can now file a claim for financial relief through a temporary federal program that opened on May 16.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), available from the Nevada Division of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR) is a new subdivision of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Among the key takeaways:

  • The qualifying period runs from February 2, 2020 through December 26, 2020, and claims made now will be backdated.
  • If you are already in receipt of regular unemployment insurance benefits, then you will not qualify for PUA.
  • Check the list of qualifying circumstances on the DETR website, as you need to show qualifying employment and be able to establish that your ability or availability to work has been – and/or will be – affected by COVID-19.

The DETR is anticipating an immediate influx of thousands of applications for PUA assistance. In order to enable staff to review your claim swiftly, track down and retain as much information relating to your income as possible – have your 2019 tax return to hand. Again, a full list of the documents that might be useful can be found here.

There are exclusions, and one of the most visible is the veto of undocumented workers, who will not be eligible for PUA.

200,000 undocumented workers statewide don’t qualify for financial benefits, including food stamps or health care, despite many paying federal taxes through the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) process. There is some poignancy here: on the subject of immigrant workers paying taxes, The National Immigration Law Center (NILC) commented:

“Immigrants want to file their taxes because they see it as an opportunity to contribute and to prove their economic contribution to the U.S. and to document their residency.”

– The National Immigration Law Center

Despite this, the federal PUA scheme has been designed to embrace a diverse workforce as much as possible, and its reach is welcomed by millions of people affected by COVID-19, desperate to steady their circumstances.

Do you need advice about any of the issues raised here? Maybe you need to speak with an attorney about a different matter. Whatever your story, Bighorn Law is here to listen, 24/7.