Arizonans owed unemployment insurance feel stranded

The department has distributed over $11.4 billion in unemployment assistance.

PHOENIX — Many Arizonans who battle through red tape to get approved for unemployment insurance are facing another obstacle: actually receiving the money.

12 News receives complaints almost daily from men and women who are out of work and cannot get the state the close the loop on their unemployment cases, even though those cases have been initially approved.

Late Thursday, a spokesperson for the Arizona Department of Economic Services said the agency is working to sort through cases that are unique and that have been flagged as potentially “fraudulent.”

“We understand that there are still individuals who need support through the application and adjudication process depending on their unique individual circumstances,” said Brett Bezio, deputy press secretary for DES.

The department has distributed over $11.4 billion in unemployment assistance to 1.6 million claimants, Bezio said.

“There are over one million PUA claims flagged for potential fraud that require further review, and the Department continues to work with data analytics companies, financial institutions, and state and federal partners to identify patterns and trends to ensure individuals eligible for benefits receive assistance while maintaining the integrity of our programs,” Bezio wrote in an email to 12 News.

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