O’Halleran, Gallego, Grijalva Demand Action from Arizona DES

July 29, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON—Today, Congressman Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01) led a letter to the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) regarding reports from constituents about unemployment claims being flagged as potentially fraudulent, despite there being no obvious reason for DES to suspect this, and often giving constituents no outlet to contact DES to rectify the situation. This interruption in benefits has the potential to completely undermine the intent of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program and risks families being unable to pay their bills.

The letter was signed by Reps. Ruben Gallego (AZ-07) and Raúl Grijalva (AZ-03).

“This year, countless hardworking Arizonans have lost their jobs through no fault of their own,” said Rep. O’Halleran. “The PUA program was established to help alleviate undue stress caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Arizona families being forced to jump through endless hoops and red tape to access the aid they were promised is ridiculous and unacceptable. Families are fighting to put food on the table; I am requesting urgent action from DES on this issue.”

In the letter, the lawmakers write, “We are demanding immediate answers from DES on why individual applications are being flagged as fraudulent, how these individuals can quickly appeal the decision, and what is the best way to quickly and efficiently check on the status of a claim. First, we are requesting a contact within DES who can acknowledge and respond to constituent concerns and referrals.”

They request answers to the following:

  1. How many accounts have been flagged as being suspected of being fraudulent?
  2. How many fraudulent cases have been found?
  3. How specifically can Arizonans prove their claims are not fraudulent?
  4. How long will a review of an individual’s case take?
  5. What additional resources are necessary to ensure that people’s claims are handled quickly and what is being done to ensure that future payments are made on time?
  6. What is DES doing to ensure that individual applications are not being inappropriately flagged?
  7. How will DES adjust conditions for flagging individuals if the process is found to be ineffective and causing delays?

View the letter, HERE.