Arizona paid out $150 million in unemployment in one week, but tens of thousands still wait for help

Arizona's Department of Economic Security on Monday announced it has paid a record amount of jobless benefits, more than $150 million last week alone, to people who have been put out of work because of the coronavirus pandemic.

But that announcement means little to people like Matthew Fink, a 37-year-old restaurant worker out of a job since March and living in an extended-stay hotel in Flagstaff.

Like tens of thousands of other Arizonans, Fink has struggled to receive his benefits. He's been unable to get anyone from DES to respond, and if he doesn't get help soon, he may experience homelessness.

"You watch the news, and I get that health is the No. 1 concern, but when you don't know when your next dollar is going to come, you don't want to hear that," Fink said. "You want to know when your money is going to come."

The DES has had a record number of claims and has brought in more than 100 additional workers to help review applications and assist people trying to access benefits.


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