PHOENIX (3 On Your Side) -- For Jay and JoAnne Kruljac, 2020 has been almost unbearable. They've dealt with loss, health concerns, and now the couple is caught in Arizona's stressed unemployment system.
"With everything that's going on, what more can we take?" Jay said. "Our hands are handcuffed."
Jay applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) in October, but hasn't received any payments yet. Then over the weekend, when Arizona expanded its ID verification program with ID.me, JoAnne was not able to file her weekly certification
"Evidently, her driver’s license isn’t clear enough," Jay said. "I mean, I look at it and it's perfect. It’s like what are you going to come up with next to throw us out?"
Susan Aguilar also ran into roadblocks with the newly expanded ID.me system.
"I was on it. 12:01am, I did it because I'm not trying to mess around," Aguilar told 3 On Your Side. "It said the wait time was 12 hours!"
On Sunday, DES acknowledged some problems with ID.me, but the agency said it worked with the company to make system adjustments and encouraged claimants to try again. Still, the problems persisted.
"We want to do it the right way because we don’t want to lose even the little bit of money that we get every week," JoAnne said as she wiped away a tear from her cheek.
About 300,000 Arizonans are currently claiming PUA, according to state data. Brett Bezio, a spokesperson for DES told 3 On Your Side only about 53,000 PUA claimants were able to certify claims through the new system, as of Monday afternoon.
"The department is monitoring the implementation of this requirement closely and will continue to quickly identify and resolve any barriers to claimants filing their weekly certifications," Bezio added in an email.
Despite the challenges, the system is catching fraud. More than 25,000 fraud attempts from Nigeria, Ghana, Russia, and China were blocked this week by ID.me, according to DES.
The Kruljacs and Aguilar say they understand the importance of fighting fraud, but they say it's frustrating to be left waiting for answers.
"We're jumping through all these hoops, but we’re not getting any help here," Aguilar said.
ID.me did not respond to 3 On Your Side's questions for this report.