ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona clears 90,000 unemployment claims flagged for fraud by DES

Aug 21, 2020, 2:55 PM

PHOENIX – About 90,000 Arizona unemployment claims that were held up because of suspected fraud have been approved, authorities said Friday.

The state Department of Economic Security said it flagged more than 1 million Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims as potentially fraudulent.

The department has been working with data analytics companies, financial institutions and government partners to review the claims.

“DES made the decision this week to process and pay approximately 90,000 claims, and we began issuing payments this week,” agency spokesman Brett Bezio told KTAR News 92.3 FM in an email. DES said about $730 million in payments were cleared.

Bezio said 3.4 million Arizonans are employed, but the state has received almost 2.7 million unemployment claims during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While unemployment has been high in the pandemic, it hasn’t reached 80%, which indicates a significant amount of fraud among claims,” he said.

The PUA program, part of the federal coronavirus relief package know as the CARES Act, provided a $600 weekly unemployment benefit enhancement.

That extra payout expired last month after Congress failed to reach an agreement to extend it.

Last week, Arizona became eligible for a new $300 enhancement available through funding from Federal Emergency Management Agency under an executive order signed recently by President Donald Trump.

The extra payments bring Arizona’s maximum unemployment payment to $540 weekly.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Martha Maurer contributed to this report.

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

(Twitter Photo/@DougDucey)...
Associated Press

Arizona Gov. Ducey suing Biden administration over threats to pull COVID relief money

Arizona's Doug Ducey filed a lawsuit Friday against the Biden administration over its threats to pull COVID relief money if the Republican governor continues to use the funds for an education grant program that can only go to schools without mask mandates.
17 hours ago
Irene Luevano and Jorge Quintero Lara (Courtesy Photos)...
Associated Press

Witness to Phoenix woman’s killing led investigators to body

A witness to the killing of a 37-year-old Phoenix woman led investigators to the western Arizona desert site where the victim was killed and her remains dumped, police said Friday.
17 hours ago
U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, left, and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey. (AP Photos)...
Kevin Stone

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey gives Sen. Kyrsten Sinema credit for filibuster stance

Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said he was glad Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema voted against changing the Senate filibuster rule this week, a move that helped sink her party's efforts to pass voting rights legislation.
17 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Marco Lopez)...
Danny Shapiro

Democratic Arizona gubernatorial hopeful Marco Lopez says feds have failed at border

A Democratic Arizona candidate for governor with an expansive history around border issues says the federal government has failed to prevent what he called a "chaotic situation" in southern parts of the state.
17 hours ago
(Twitter Photo/City of Phoenix)...
KTAR.com

Phoenix wins $1M in Global Mayors Challenge for mobile career unit

Phoenix is $1 million richer after winning a worldwide mayors' challenge focused on urban innovations.
17 hours ago
A driver places a swab into a vial at a free drive-thru COVID-19 testing site in the parking lot of...
KTAR.com

Number of Arizona inpatients with COVID up by nearly 50% since end of 2021

The number of Arizona inpatients with COVID-19 has climbed by nearly 50% since the end of 2021, but coronavirus-related ICU use has been relatively stable, according to data released Friday.
17 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 27: Wide receivers John Brown #12 and Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona C...
Arizona Department of Gaming

The most memorable games in Arizona sports history every fan needs to know

Sports teams in Arizona have seen their fair share of instant classic games, but there's a few that every fan needs to know.
(Facebook Photo/NHTSA)...
Sweet James

Upcoming holiday season is peak time for DUI arrests

The holiday season may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also the most dangerous time of the year to be driving. That’s why it’s important to remember to call Sweet James Accident Attorneys if you’re injured or arrested because of a DUI accident.
...
PNC BANK

How your family can explore the Musical Instrument Museum

Whether you want to spend a day with family, do crafts with kids at home, or have an adult night out, the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix has options. As the world’s only global musical instrument museum, MIM offers interactive and immersive exhibits to foster an appreciation of different cultures and their instruments. “A visit […]
Arizona clears 90,000 unemployment claims flagged for fraud by DES