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Unemployment payment issues hurt Arizonans seeking benefits

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TUCSON (KVOA) - Many Arizonans who have been relying on unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic have noticed that their accounts may have had money withdrawn or completely emptied over the weekend.

Both Arriane and Norman McArthur say they filed for unemployment and they both were approved.

The couple has been receiving benefits since March, but a few days ago:

"I went to go pay something at the grocery store and it got declined, so I come home and it shows that the account is closed," said Arriane McArthur.

Her Bank of America card that is supposed to be loaded with benefits, was drained. Her statement shows the money was refunded back to the Arizona Department of Economic Security and her account closed.

The same thing happened to her husband Norman and many more who have been relying on this money.

Joshua Black, an employment attorney, says those who lived in Arizona and moved and still need unemployment can get it.

"Essentially, they want to see that you've been here, that you've paid into the benefits. As long as you have, you qualify. It doesn't matter where you move to you'll still qualify for those Arizona benefits," said Black.

But the Arizona Department of Economic Security said on Twitter that fraud is getting in the way.

Their post says they closed accounts with suspicious and out of state activity, believing a majority of the claims are fraudulent.

However, they do acknowledge a small portion of people who are allowed to get benefits are impacted.

That leaves the McArthurs moving money around and unable to pay their bills.

If you think your account has been wrongly deactivated, DES has set up a specific email for you to let them know. You can email them at AZUIfraud@azdes.gov

Mark Mingura

Mark Mingura joined KVOA as a Multi Media Journalist in October 2019. Originally from the valley and with ties to Tucson, Mark is excited to get back to his home state and tell the stories of the Old Pueblo.

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