The following is a brief summary of the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program for which many of Nevada Legal Services’ clients seek assistance. Because of the resources Nevada Legal Services devotes to handling these types of claims, we are always in need of pro bono attorney volunteers from outside our organization to assist with the various other types of cases we place.
On March 27, 2020, the President signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act of 2020 (CARES Act). Section 2102 of the CARES Act created the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program (PUA), which allows benefits to be paid to “covered individuals.” “Covered individuals” are those who are ineligible to receive regular unemployment compensation and who are unemployed, partially unemployed, unable to work or unavailable for work due to one of the eleven Covid-19-related reasons set forth in Section 2102(a)(3)(A)(ii) of the CARES Act. Qualifying Covid-19-related reasons include, without limitation, a Covid-19 diagnosis of either the individual or a household member, a business closure directly caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, long-term health complications caused by a Covid-19 diagnosis that renders the individual objectively unable to perform his or her essential job functions or a Covid-19-related school or facility closure that renders an individual with primary caregiving responsibility unable to work away from home.
With the subsequent passage of the Continued Assistance Act, PUA overpayments became eligible for waiver consideration if the state determines that the overpayment was without fault on the part of the individual and that repayment would be contrary to equity and good conscience. If the Employment Security Division (ESD) assesses an overpayment, a Notification of Overpayment will be posted on the individual’s online PUA portal. If the corresponding disqualification is deemed non-fraudulent and if the individual is financially unable to repay the full overpayment amount, they are entitled to submit an overpayment waiver request on their online PUA portal. The individual will be tasked with answering financial questions regarding their income and debts and they are also encouraged to attach any and all supporting documentation to the overpayment waiver request that further demonstrates financial hardship. The timeline of ESD’s review is contingent on overall volume and document review and a decision will be posted on the online PUA portal.
Please do not hesitate to refer someone with a PUA issue to our online intake (www.nevadalegalservices.org) for screening. Alternatively, please consider providing pro bono work for Nevada Legal Services or one of Nevada’s other four legal aid organizations.
About this article: This article was originally published in the “Administrative Law” issue of Communiqué, the official publication of the Clark County Bar Association, (Apr. 2023). See https://clarkcountybar.org/member-benefits/communique-2023/communique-apr-2023/.
About the author
Elizabeth S. Carmona, Esq., is a Senior Attorney at Nevada Legal Services. Elizabeth has represented countless UI and PUA clients at the administrative level and she has also litigated appeals before the 8th Judicial District Court and the Nevada Supreme Court.
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