For several months, The Let Joe Know team has been showcasing just how long some Arizonans are being forced to wait for unemployment payments.
In most cases, state leaders have blamed fraud for the hold-up, but the team and The Rebound Arizona have found new security measures are causing many problems.
In the past few months, Christy Robinson says she's made countless phone calls and sent numerous emails, saying they've gotten her nowhere.
"We get form letters back - thank you for contacting our office. Here's the number of the DES unemployment system," said Christy.
After losing her job as a choir director to the pandemic, she applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
" I applied, and it took weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks to finally get a check," said Christy.
She thought she was set until payments stopped in November of 2020.
Christy is one of the thousands of Arizonans who now had to prove they were who they said they were - all because of countless fraud claims.
The Let Joe Know team broke the story of Arizonans getting debit cards from DES they never applied for and that often had thousands of dollars available to use.
When people began reporting those fraud claims to DES and our stories aired, DES started changing how they verified claims. In the process, many claims were paused, and people had to start the online process all over again.
Christy says she was told "if you want to reestablish your claim, you need to call and talk to a person. So, I tried to call, and you can't get through and you get cut off."
Most recently, DES added the ID Me system. According to the company it's supposed to "[simplify] how individuals securely prove and share their identity online."
Christy says it has just complicated things.
"When we got to the like partway through the screens, she said, 'I don't understand this. I don't see why you're not able to get in,'" said Christy about walking through the process with a DES agent.
It's a problem that seems to have started as soon as it was implemented and something DES can't appear to solve.
This week, we asked DES multiple times: Why are there still massive delays? Are there errors in the ID ME system? How many claims are still awaiting approval? How far back do they go?
DES did not respond by our deadline.
If you can prove you qualify and are still having unemployment issues, you can email us at Rebound@abc15.com.