PHOENIX - Hundreds of thousands are receiving unemployment benefits in Arizona, but tens of thousands more are still waiting as the Department of Economic Security (DES) has struggled to keep up with the unprecedented demand during the coronavirus pandemic.
A woman waited 2 and a half months for her much-needed money, and apparently it’s because she used her smart phone instead of a desktop computer to apply.
Many people do everything on their phones now, but the DES says you should not use it to file your weekly unemployment claims.
Kim Squires claims they never warned her of this.
After being laid off as manager of a local cleaning company, Squires has been doing what hundreds of thousands of others in Arizona are every week - updating her weekly unemployment claim to continue to receive benefits.
"On the fourth week, it wouldn’t allow me to file my claim. It told me I need to reopen my claim," Squires explained.
She said she called up DES and says she was told the issue is that she filed on her smart phone instead of desktop.
It stopped her claim and didn’t receive money for months.
FOX 10 contacted DES and asked if it’s true that people shouldn’t file weekly claims with their cell phones.
A spokesperson said that isn’t a widespread issue and people can use cell phones. He added, “However, we do encourage claimants to file all claims on a desktop, for a better user experience.”
Squires said that wasn't a recommendation she was given.
"No they didn’t encourage me to do that ever. It was never brought up. It’s not on their website. It’s still not on their website," she says.
FOX 10 couldn’t find a mention on the website encouraging applicants to use a desktop computer, despite what the DES spokesperson said.
Fortunately, Squires ended up getting her benefits last week after waiting a little more than ten weeks.
She was able to get by, but the backlog at DES is still tens of thousands long.
FOX 10 asked for more clarification Monday afternoon on why DES encourages desktop use for applicants and why it isn’t posted anywhere. They said they will now explore the need of adding that to the site.
DES also said they are now updating the mobile website to improve an applicant's ability to access unemployment resources on their smart phones.