As Congress is debating solutions while many wait for an extension, some Arizonans aren't receiving their regular benefits as some are still waiting for their first unemployment payment.
They say they can’t get through to anyone to solve their issues, meaning bills aren’t getting paid and finances are only getting tighter.
"It says 'active issue' and my heart stopped and I’m like what’s going on and it says 'voluntary quit' and I’m like holy cow," said Mark North.
He had been collecting unemployment from the Department of Economic Security (DES) before the issue. His employer told DES they had it all wrong and that North was furloughed.
A month later and he’s still waiting.
"That’s my money I paid into this system. There’s no fraud here, there’s no scam or anything. I just want to pay my bills and get through this pandemic like everyone else," North explained.
Marie Starks Adams says she can't get through to anyone for help.
"No. No answers. I call every day, no answers," she said.
Adams's account summary shows she applied March 15 and she's only received one check.
"We’re not getting nothing. It’s like a waiting game. You don’t want to answer your phone. It’s a waiting game and everybody’s so confused, everyone has questions," she said.
The agency says they average thousands of claimant calls a week.
As Congress continues to debate a potential extension to the $600 a week benefit, and many complain about Arizona’s second lowest in the country for unemployment payouts, there are Arizonans like North and Adams still waiting for just, anything.
Department of Labor data compiled by the Century Foundation found 32% of Arizona claimants have had to wait more than 50 days to receive eligibility.
FOX 10 reached out to DES for comment on the months-long wait times. They didn’t provide a comment but have previously said they’ve added more employees to get through the unprecedented backlog.
The DES Director has not responded to requests for an interview.
For more DES coverage, visit https://www.fox10phoenix.com/tag/organization/azdes