ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona agency adjusts to deal with skyrocketing unemployment claims

Apr 15, 2020, 11:27 AM | Updated: 11:30 am

PHOENIX – Arizonans received more than $26.9 million in unemployment insurance last week, with claims skyrocketing while the coronavirus outbreak locks up the economy.

The Arizona Department of Economic Security said Wednesday it’s making a variety of adjustments, including increasing call center hours, to address the surge of claims.

“We know from these numbers that this is an extremely challenging time for Arizonans, and the Department of Economic Security is working hard to process unemployment claims as quickly as possible,” Director Tom Betlach said in a press release.

“We are paying out higher numbers each week, and this will only continue as we enhance our systems and scale our staff.”

Another $55 million in benefits, including an extra $600 per claimant from the federal COVID-19 relief package, went out Monday to people that filed weekly certifications Sunday, according to DES.

Active claims beginning March 29 will receive the $600 payments retroactively, the department said. The supplemental benefit will be distributed through July 25 per the terms of the federal CARES Act.

In the week that ended April 11, Arizonans made 95,382 initial unemployment claims on top of 164,483 continuing claims. DES answered a record 22,000 calls for the week.

By contrast, there were 3,844 initial claims, 17,595 continued claims and 3,400 calls answered for the week ending March 14.

Starting April 26, DES call centers will provide service Sundays from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In addition to extending call center hours, the department has increased staffing, installed an FAQ chat bot on its website and contracted with a private sector call center company.

To continue receiving benefits, individuals must file weekly claims at www.azui.com between 12:01 a.m. Sunday and 6 p.m. Friday.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Many U.S. $100 bills are spread out. One Arizona lottery player recently won a $10,000 prize, while...

KTAR.com

Arizona Mega Millions player wins $10K while deadline nears for $50K Powerball ticket

One Arizona lottery player recently won a five-figure prize, while another is running out of time to claim an even larger payout.

7 hours ago

UoA student convicted of first-degree murder after killing professor...

Associated Press

Former UArizona grad student sentenced to life in prison for murder of professor

A former University of Arizona graduate student was sentenced Monday to life in prison without the possibility of parole for fatally shooting a hydrology professor.

8 hours ago

Jack Smith, left. (Jack Smith for Congress Photo)...

KTAR.com

Watch: Arizona Congressional District 2 Republican debate

The Arizona Congressional District 2 Republican debate occurred on June 24 but only one candidate, Jack Smith, participated.

9 hours ago

...

KTAR Video

Video: A preview of Arizona Congressional District 8 Republican Debate

Arizona Congressional District 8 Republican Debate is scheduled for Tuesday, June 25, but Chris Merrill and guest host Barry Markson consider the candidates running in that district.

11 hours ago

...

KTAR Video

Video: A look at the state of Arizona politics amid primary debates

As the Arizona primary election debates continue, Chris Merrill and guest host Barry Markson take a closer look at the current state of politics in the 48th state. Video: Jeremy Schnell and Felisa Cárdenas/KTAR News

11 hours ago

(Maricopa County Recorder's Office Graphic)...

KTAR.com

Watch: Maricopa County Recorder Republican primary debate

Three candidates squared off in the Maricopa County Recorder Republican primary debate on June 24.

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

Arizona agency adjusts to deal with skyrocketing unemployment claims