LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak spoke on Tuesday addressing concerns and changes to the state's unemployment system.
In Carson City, Sisolak said more than 300,000 Nevadans have applied for unemployment insurance benefits in the past 30 days -- or one in every 10 Nevadans.
On Tuesday, the governor asked DETR to backdate all unemployment claims to the earliest date of eligibility up to March 15. Whenever the application is filed, those claims will be paid retroactively and no more action is necessary.
In the weeks between March 14 and April 4, Nevada saw the three highest weeks of initial claims on record for the state, Sisolak said. In the week ending April 4, 79,000 Nevadans filed initial claims, nearly nine times as many during the highest week in the Great Recession.
"I say all this to demonstrate the magnitude of what we are facing right now. And we’re not alone. All across the country, states are facing record-breaking job losses and unemployment claims," Sisolak said.
Sisolak addressed issues in the unemployment system, including busy call lines, issues with password resets and the website running slow.
"I know this is hard. I get your frustration, too. I remember when my dad was laid off from his job and what that meant to our family. Every night, I think about this," said Sisolak.
Sisolak said the system was never set up to handle this volume of calls or claims. At this point, a complete overhaul of the system would keep Nevadans from filing from for an extended period of time and would "do more harm than good"
Sisolak said Nevadans who have been unable to file a claim will not lose any benefits and payments will not be reduced.
Nevada is set to disperse the additional $600 to everyone currently on unemployment benefits. Sisolak said those payment will also be backdated. The payments will be seen as early as Wednesday and will continue to pay out through the week.
Kimberly Gaa of the Nevada Department of Employment, Training & Rehabilitation said they are working on the system for those who are self-employed or gig workers. The state has reached a vendor and Gaa said they hope to launch a module for those workers by early to mid-May.
In the follow-up question-and-answer, FOX5's Jaclyn Schultz asked if there was any intermediate relief for those 10-99 and similar workers who are struggling. Gaa said the state doesn't currently have the structures in place to support Pandemic Unemployment Assistance but they are working on it.
Gaa said as soon as they have the methodology in place, whether in two days or by mid-May, DETR will announce it.
In the meantime, DETR has tripled its staff and will be increasing again this week to more than 300 employees to help get claims filed.
"It takes awhile to get to that many people. I implore you to be as patient as you possibly can, and we will try to get to everybody," Sisolak said.
Sisolak said DETR also rolled out a new, staggered filing calendar. The new system will be by last name: A-K on Sunday, L-R on Monday and S-Z on Tuesday. Everyone will be able to file on Wednesday through Saturday.