DETR’s latest excuse for its inability to pay claims promptly is reminiscent of the trial scene where Captain Queeg, has a paranoid breakdown in Herman Wouk’s play “The Caine Mutiny.” Captain Queeg justifies his negligence in running over his ship’s own tow line and his cowardice in abandoning landing craft mid ocean, all because of an imaginary conspiracy by the crew against his command; a conspiracy proven by the fact that he believes a quart of strawberries went missing from the officers’ mess one evening.
So too does Nevada’s DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT, TRAINING AND REHABILITATION (DETR) attempt to justify it’s own poor performance in its failure to pay approximately half of the 190,262 applicants who have applied to the pandemic unemployment assistance program in the three months, since the opening in April 11, 2020. DETR does so by pointing to non-specific allegations of fraud and corruption and perhaps communist infiltrators or little green men. Not only is it inconceivable that 94,772, half of all claimants in the state Nevada, actually committed fraud—at the same time in the same way—but that, as June 25, 2020, DETR had not actually formally denied these claims as fraudulent or filed criminal charges of fraud against the majority of pending claims. DETR even admits that other states, who have seen the same increase in fraudulent claims, report to have paid between 80 to 95% of all claims in just a few weeks’ time; so why can’t they?
A few days after learning of this lawsuit, based upon no new information, DETR retroactively reclassified thousands of claims that were pending (many with several approvals) for months as potentially fraudulent and now asserts this is the real reason for its reluctance to pay almost a billion dollars in additional relief before federal funding runs out in the end of this month. All of these unproven allegations of fraud are just pending claims that the DETR has labeled suspicious retroactively because DETR disagrees with the initial determination that they are due to be paid. There is not enough fraud in the entire system to justify DETR’s failure to perform its duty to pay “when due”; DETR’s claims are just a red herring —— or perhaps a quart of missing strawberries.