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PUA claimant shares her story as DETR faces lawsuit |

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PUA claimant shares her story as DETR faces lawsuit

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Gig workers waiting on Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or PUA, funds, are now awaiting a decision in a lawsuit filed against DETR. Over the next week, a “special master” will be compiling information regarding the lawsuit against the State’s unemployment agency.

Across the State, people are filing PUA claims online or attempting to get issues resolved over the phone with no luck.

Now, they’re hoping the lawsuit filed against DETR will help them receive the thousands of dollars in back-pay they desperately need.

Cheryl Morris, owner of Heartsong Massage, has been out of work and without financial relief for 16 weeks.

“I’m reaching the tap-out point,” lamented Morris. “We’ve been very lean on everything. We go to the food closet, we utilize services that are free. We’re able to take advantage of that stuff, but it doesn’t cover everything.”

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Morris worked at her business in Gardnerville near Lake Tahoe, focusing on wellness and health for the elderly.

Now, she spends hours every day trying to reach a DETR representative, even memorizing the different music that plays while she waits.

“I would have three phones going at one time,” recalled Morris. “Literally calling the number. One would hang up, the next would pick up, you know what I mean, you go through this routine.”

She has thousands of dollars in back-pay, and she’s not alone.

DETR is now facing a class-action lawsuit by PUA claimants because of non-payment.

In a hearing today, Judge Barry Breslow formalized the role of Special Master Jason Guinasso. They spoke about how he will collect data from both sides and how he will keep applicants’ information confidential.

For Morris, she hopes this will lead to some sort of assistance before she has to make tough financial decisions.

“Even if it’s not the full amount. Something that can at least get me forward.”

Breslow noted that while collecting this data will be a lot of work, he wants to make a decision on the lawsuit by next Thursday.

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