PHOENIX — Up to 60,000 Arizonans may now need to verify their identity to receive unemployment benefits, according to state officials.
Arizona’s Department of Economic Security said existing Unemployment Insurance (UI) will now have to go through the verification process through a third-party company, ID.me.
Existing UI claimants must now verify their identity in order to continue filing for benefits. @IDme is a safe, self-service option to verify your identity. If you are unable to access @IDme, you can follow the alternate instructions provided in the UI portal. pic.twitter.com/70M9oACz2n— AzDES (@ArizonaDES) March 6, 2021
In December, PUA claimants were notified that they would have to go through the verification process, and there were issues with the rollout in Arizona.
Earlier this year, DES required new claimants filing unemployment claims to use the identity.
The ID.me verification system includes claimants seeking unemployment to upload their photo ID, social security number and a selfie photo with an ID to authenticate who they are.
DES says they are using ID.me to help verify accounts because of fraud.
In an email to ABC15, a spokesperson for DES said, “Prior to the pandemic, an average of 800 reports of suspected fraud were received per month by DES. In comparison, nearly 95,000 cases of suspected fraud have been reported to DES since March 1, 2020; skyrocketing the monthly average tenfold to more than 8,600.”
At the end of February, which is the latest data from DES, it shows more than 60,000 people were continuing with existing UI claims.
However, since the announcement over the weekend, some can not verify who they are.
In a statement, DES wrote, “The Department continues to work with ID.me to look into specific instances where individuals have had difficulty verifying their documents after uploading them into the system. Additionally, ID.me technical support is available 24/7 at help.id.me. We also know that some portion of the individuals who can’t complete verification are individuals who were attempting to access benefits fraudulently and use illegally obtained information to continue to file fraudulent benefits. We continue to work tirelessly to issue benefits quickly to eligible claimants with as few disruptions as possible.”
ABC15 reached out to the CEO of ID.me who says that wait times have been under two hours for a video chat option to verify an account.