Some on unemployment feel 'punished' by Arizona with incorrectly closed accounts

A Valley resident on unemployment said on Dec. 7 that she feels like Arizona is punishing her and everyone else collecting benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To combat fraud, people on unemployment had to prove their identities and it's lead to massive headaches and issues across the state as many on unemployment lost benefits after their profiles were incorrectly flagged as fraudulent.

The Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) is requiring pandemic unemployment assistance recipients to prove their identity through before getting more payments.

Kelly Turner of Avondale says of her DES experience, "I kept failing. I kept failing particular things about the type of phone you use."

Her documents to prove her identity were not accepted. So she, like everyone else FOX 10 spoke with, had to wait to speak with an employee.

"A punishment, you know, it feels like it’s a punishment," she said as the wait times are sometimes more than five hours long.

Ken Colburn with Data Doctors said the high volume all at once can create issues for computer programs.

"Any time you have an automated system and you do high volume you’re going to find bugs, you’re going to find problems, which obviously did," Colburn said.

DES said Sunday the wait time problems were fixed, but after waiting seven hours on Monday, Dec. 7, Charlie Drayer begged to differ.

In total, Drayer says he’s now waited 20 hours over the course of several days and still has no answers.

DES did not respond to questions Monday and neither did

For more reports on the Department of Economic Security, visit this link.