PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Karran Girvin-Curless says times are tough for her and her family. "Actually, we have had to ask family and friends sometimes for assistance," she told 3 On Your Side.

Karran's husband is unable to work, and she's unemployed because of COVID-19. "We're just taking it one step at a time, basically."

Karran applied for unemployment benefits through the Department of Economic Security and was turned down. So, when she recently received this check for more than $2,151 from DES, her jaw dropped. "And, I had to get like three different people to check it out to make sure I didn't see things," she said when she opened the envelope.

US Postal Service

The U.S. Postal Service says some outgoing mail was destroyed when a mail truck suddenly caught fire in Phoenix.

Karran and other viewers who received the $2,151 check say they're afraid to deposit it with their banks thinking it's a scam.

But it's not. DES tells 3 On Your Side and Karran that the checks are part of the federal government's Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Program. A DES spokesperson said it's a legit check from the federal government sent to the state to be deposited by people who applied during a certain time frame.

Karran says she's glad to know the check is legit and says it will really help her family right now. “Does it make you feel better knowing it's not a scam?” 3 On Your Side’s Gary Harper asked. “Yes, it actually does. It takes a weight off my shoulders,” Karran replied. “My husband hasn't worked since March due to the pandemic."

These checks represent the initial lump sum to help out roughly 165 thousand Arizonans who were turned down for assistance. It totals more than $350 million.

Gary Harper's 3 On Your Side reports air weeknights on 3TV News at 9.


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