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U.K. Edition
Sunday, 9 May 2021

Nevada unemployment system's no-bid contracts cost taxpayers millions

Credit: KTNV Channel 13 Las Vegas
Duration: 06:35s 0 shares 2 views
Nevada unemployment system's no-bid contracts cost taxpayers millions
Nevada unemployment system's no-bid contracts cost taxpayers millions

Throwing money at a problem doesn’t always fix it.

In this case, the problem is the state’s unemployment system and it’s your money being spent.

A lot of it.

900-THOUSAND.THROWING MONEY AT APROBLEM DOESN’T ALWAYS FIX IT.IN THIS CASE THE PROBLEMIS THE STATE’S UNEMPLOYMENTSYSTEM -- AND IT’S YOUR MONEYBEING SPENT.A LOT OF IT.13 CHIEF INVESTIGATORDARCY SPEARS SPENT MORE THAN AYEAR DIGGING INTO DETR’S ONGOINGPROBLEMS AND UNCOVERS NEWINFORMATION ON WHAT SOMECONSIDER - THE COST OF FAILURE.THE PAIN...FIVE-AND-A-HALF-HOUR WAIT TIMESAND PEOPLE BEING DROPPED RIGHTAND LEFT FROM CALLS...AND FRUSTRATION...I’D BEEN GETTING UNEMPLOYMENTFOR OVER A YEAR.

ALL OF ASUDDEN THEY HAVE THIS NEWIDENTIFICATION SYSTEM.FELT ALL OVER THE STATE.

TWOCONTRACTS SIGNED BY THE STATE INAUGUST AMOUNT TO MILLIONS OF TAXDOLLARS BECAUSE THE STATEDEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT,TRAINING AND REHABILITATION,KNOWN AS DETR, ADMITTEDLYFALTERED UNDER THE STRAIN OFPANDEMIC-INDUCED UNEMPLOYMENT.WE WERE JUST ABSOLUTELYOVERWHELMED WITH APPLICATIONSAND WORK LIKE WE HAD NEVER SEENBEFORE.THE NEWEST HURDLE CAME WITHTHE RECENTLY PASSED CONTINUEDASSISTANCE ACT.

CONGRESSREQUIRED STATES TO VERIFY THEIDENTITY OF EVERY SINGLECLAIMANT IN REGULAR U.I.

AND INTHE PUA SYSTEM, WHICH SERVESINDEPENDENT CONTRATORS, THESELF-EMPLOYED AND GIG WORKERS.THE GOAL--TO PROTECT LEGITIMATECLAIMANTS AND WEED OUT FRAUD.DETR TOLD STATE LEADERS IT DIDNOT HAVE THE ABILITY TO DO THAT.WE WERE DEALING WITH JUSTOVERWHELMING FRAUDULENTAPPLICATIONS AND SO WE WERELOOKING FOR A SOLUTION.THE SOLUTION WAS AN EMERGENCY,NO-BID CONTRACT WITHVIRGINIA-BASED ID.ME.

IT RUNSTHROUGH THE END OF THIS YEARWITH A PRICE TAG OF $1.5 MILLIONTAX DOLLARS COMING FROM FEDERALCOFFERS.

STATE PURCHASING RULESUSUALLY REQUIRE A COMPETITIVEBIDDING PROCESS TO MAKE SURETAXPAYERS GET THE MOST BANG FORTHEIR BUCK.BUT THAT IS QUITE LENGTHY.

ITTAKES SEVERAL MONTHS.AND NO ONE HAD THAT KIND OFTIME.IT’S NOT A SITUATION WHERE YOUWOULD LOOK AT AND SAY ’IS THISTHE BEST INVESTMENT?’ WE WERE INAN EMERGENCY SITUATION.ID.ME IS A FEDERALLY CERTIFIEDCREDENTIAL SERVICE PROVIDERBEING USED BY SEVERAL STATES, ASWELL MULTIPLE FEDERAL AGENCIESINCLUDING VETERANS AFFAIRS,TREASURY AND THE SOCIAL SECURITYADMINISTRATION.ID.ME IS NOT A NEW COMPANY BUTTHEY OBVIOUSLY TOOK ON A LOT OFGOVERNMENT CONTRACTS AT THE SAMETIME.CLAIMANTS LIKE JANELL CLARKAND WILLIAM CARTER...THE SYSTEM IS INCOMPETENT.HAVE BEEN STUCK IN AVERIFICATION LOG JAM.IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE TO MEBECAUSE THEY’RE BASICALLYDUPLICATING WHAT THE STATE WASALREADY DOING.

UPLOADING ADRIVER’S LICENSE, UPLOADING ASOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER.

THEY’VEADDED TAKING A VIDEO SELFIE.JANELL STARTED WITH DETR...I UPLOADED MY SOCIAL SECURITYCARD, MY DRIVERS LICENSE, MYPASSPORT, MY BIRTH CERTIFICATE,PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING BUT ABLOOD SAMPLE.AFTER TEN WEEKS WITH NO MONEY,SHE WENT THROUGH THE SAMEPROCESS WITH ID.ME.SO I’VE NOW BEEN MANUALLYVERIFIED BY THEIR EMPLOYEES ANDBEEN VERIFIED THROUGH ID.ME ANDTHEY STILL HAVE A PROBLEM WITHMY IDENTITY!HOW DO WE ADDRESS THE CONCERNSOF PEOPLE WHO FEEL LIKE OURFEDERAL TAX DOLLARS ARE GOINGFOR SOMETHING THAT’S NOTWORKING?I WOULD NOT AGREE WITH THEPREMISE THAT THEY’RE NOTWORKING.

ID.ME HAS BEEN ABLE TOSUCCESSFULLY PROCESS OVER 90PERCENT OF THE FOLKS WHO APPLYTHROUGH THE ONLINE PROCESS.DETR DIRECTOR ELISA CAFFERATAAND ID.ME SENIOR VICE PRESIDENTPETE ESKEW SAY THE PRIMARYPROBLEM IS FRAUDSTERS, WHOACCOUNT FOR NEARLY HALF OF ALLCLAIMS BEING FILED.THE GOAL FOR US FOR STATE ANDFEDERAL BUSINESS IS TO MAKE SURETHAT THE INDIVIDUALS THAT ARETRULY HURTING CAN GAIN ACCESS TOTHE BENEFITS WHILE PREVENTINGCRIMINALS FROM TAKING MONEY OUTOF THE SYSTEM.AND THAT INEVITABLY DELAYS THELEGITIMATE CLAIMANTS.IT DOES.

IT DOES, BUT WHATWE’RE DOING IS WE’RE ALSO SAVINGNEVADA AND ALL OF OUR STATEPARTNERS MONEY THAT THEY WOULDHAVE BEEN PAYING OUT TOCRIMINALS.LEGITIMATE CLAIMANTS DEALINGWITH FIVE AND SIX-HOUR WAITTIMES TO SPEAK TO ONE OF ID.ME’STRUSTED REFEREES SAY THE COMPANYNEEDS TO DO BETTER.I DON’T KNOW WHY IT GOT SOCOMPLICATED.

IT SOUNDS LIKEMAYBE ID.ME BIT OFF A BIT MORETHAN THEY COULD CHEW.ESKEW SAYS ID.ME IS HIRINGHUNDREDS OF NEW WORKERS FOR ITSONLINE PLATFORM AND PLANS TOOPEN IN-PERSON OFFICES IN JUNEHERE IN LAS VEGAS ANDNATIONWIDE.SO WE’RE TRYING TO COMBAT THEWAIT TIMES THAT YOU’RE HEARINGABOUT.HIS ADVICE TO CUT THE WAIT?WAKE UP EARLY.ENTER THE CUE IN THE MORNINGSOF TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY.PARTICULARLY THE MORNING MEANSEAST COAST TIME.

SO I WOULDPUSH THEM TO GO THEN WHEN WEHAVE MORE STAFF THAT AREAVAILABLE TO HANDLE THOSE CALLS.ANOTHER COMPANY HANDLING CALLSFOR NEVADA IS GETTING AN EVENBIGGER CHUNK OF OUR FEDERAL TAXDOLLARS TO HELP MAN THE PHONELINES IN DETR’S UI CALL CENTER.MAXIMUS GOT A $6.4 MILLIONDOLLAR NO-BID CONTRACT WHICHALSO GOES THROUGH THE END OF2021.THEY ACTUALLY HAVE UI EXPERIENCEIN OTHER STATES AND THEY HIREPEOPLE WITH UI EXPERIENCE SOTHAT WAS WHY THE EMERGENCYCONTRACT WAS GRANTED TO THEM.DETR EVENTUALLY PLANS TOTRANSITION ALL CALLS TO STATEEMPLOYEES WHO CAN HANDLECOMPLICATED CLAIMS. BUTCAFFERATA SAYS THE EXPERIENCE ISIMPROVING.THE ESCALATIONS--THOSE FOLKSARE CALLED BACK WITHIN THE WEEKAND WE HAVE MADE SIGNIFICANTPROGRESS IN OUR PUA BACKLOG ANDTHEN WE’RE GOING TO RE-DEPLOYSOME OF THOSE RESOURCES TO THEUI BACKLOG.THERE ARE ABOUT 2,000 PEOPLE INTHE PUA BACKLOG COMPARED TO47,000 IN REGULAR UNEMPLOYMENT.FOR THOSE AWAITING APPEAL, MORETHAN 2,200 ARE PENDING REVIEW INUI WHICH DETR SAYS WILL TAKEABOUT TWO MONTHS TO GET THROUGH.IN PUA, MORE THAN 25,000 APPEALSNEED TO BE REVIEWED BEFORE THEYARE CONSIDERED VALID.IF YOU’RE HAVING A PROBLEM WITHID.ME, WE CAN HELP.

SEND ME ANEMAIL WITH YOUR CONTACTINFORMATION AND A DESCRIPTION OFYOUR ISSUES AND WE’LL GET ITHANDLED.

MY EMAIL ADDRESS ANDSOME OTHER TIPS ON AVOIDINGDUPLICATION BETWEEN DETR ANDID.ME ARE ON OUR WEBSITE ATKTNV.COM.

DARCY SPEARS,

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