PHOENIX - Another 92,000 Arizonans filed for unemployment last week and the demand on the state's unemployment system has created a host of new problems.
Calling into the Department of Economic Security (DES) can take hours and you’re lucky if it’s not disconnecting. Getting benefits can take up to 21 days now.
FOX 10 learned of another side effect of the demand on unemployment insurance.
With 345,000 Arizonans filing for unemployment in the last four weeks, fax machines are back in a big way.
As Stephanie Pick found out, when someone files for unemployment, they receive a letter that requires a signature returned quickly.
"Like literally a day or two they needed the letter back," Pick said. Brenda Anderson also said, "I’ve lost my mind a few times, believe me, a lot of cursing has occurred."
With that deadline, mail is too slow and now fax is the only way.
"Everyone is running to their UPS store to try to fax it. So it’s just thousands and thousands of faxes waiting to get through. The busy signals. It’s never-ending," Pick said.
Robert Schenberg works at a Phoenix UPS store, saying they get at least 70 people a day now. He says with every store faxing, DES lines are busy until closing because DES doesn’t provide enough fax lines for the entire state.
Employees have been staying hours late at their store to get through and starting early every day. At Schenberg's store, they've stopped charging people for faxes.
The last thing you want to worry about when you’re unemployed is worrying about a few extra dollars to get your unemployment.
FOX 10 reached out to DES Tuesday to see why people have been given such tight deadlines to get signatures in or if they’d consider accepting electronic signatures instead of such an old technology, but they haven’t provided a response yet.