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Arizona DES to begin emailing approvals for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance this weekend

Hard-working senior can't get answers
Arizona Department of Economic Security
Posted at 7:33 PM, May 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-09 01:33:20-04

Most years, we're deep in baseball about now, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, teams aren't playing yet.

No one is more disappointed than Pat Ford.

Pat loves the Diamondbacks as a fan and she misses them as a 21-year part-time employee working as a guest relations supervisor.

She works most home games. The job is actually one of four jobs Pat works. At 83, she says "I've buried three husbands so I have a lot more time on my hands."

We caught up with Pat at one of those jobs, office work at Sun City Florists - but it's the Diamondbacks job that brought us there.

Pat says she's tried to file for unemployment insurance. While part-time work normally wouldn't be covered, it is now under a government coronavirus act.

It's called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for workers with part-time jobs, gig works, independent contractors and others.

Pat says she spent hours on the phone and online trying to file a claim and to see if she even qualifies, but she says she was on hold for nearly an hour and got kicked off online.

"I just want to know if I'm eligible. Great if not, okay, I just want to know something," Pat tells me.

We took Pat's case to the state's Department of Economic Security pushing for answers. DES handles unemployment insurance claims.

Pat says she knows many people are in worse situations. Her Social Security covers most of the bills. "Right now, I can get by. But it sure would help with a little extra," she says.

DES has said next week PUE applications will start and payouts will begin as a new system will be in place.

The Rebound Arizona has pushed for answers from DES for weeks about why so many of you have complained to us about not getting pay or any answers.

DES didn't answer our questions about Pat either by our deadline. They offered no help determining if someone even qualifies if they collect Social Security pay.

Even when baseball starts up again, it may be without fans filling stadiums and that means guest relations jobs like Pat's job, would likely not be needed.

So she's thinking about getting rid of her luxuries, her newspaper and her home alarm system.

And maybe she'll pick up a few more hours at the flower shop.

We sent Pat's information to DES and will continue pushing for answers and to finally get Pat her money.

If you're having a similar issue or any virus-related issue, email us.