PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- A Phoenix woman says she's waited more than six months for unemployment benefits after filing for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance with the Arizona Department of Economic Security back in June.

"When the PUA program came out, we thought that that was gonna be a lot better because I didn't qualify necessarily for the traditional unemployment," said Amber Greer.

Unemployment recipients will have to verify identity with new system through DES

Since mid-March, she's been out of work after losing her job at a nightclub because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

"Financially, it's been very struggling. Like always trying to pick and choose which bills to pay. Which ones we can extend, which ones we can prolong," Greer said.

Greer says she's currently owed 27 weeks of unemployment from DES, but so far hasn't seen anything hit her bank account. Her partner has been able to keep his job as a chef, but the couple is taking care of two little boys, and money is tight.

"The stress and anxiety financially are through the roof," Greer said.

Amber says she's called DES 125 times since September, but each time she called, she says that she was told that she'd just have to keep on waiting.

"We are looking for answers, and to be told the same thing every day is very disheartening; it's discouraging," Greer said.

New ID verification rules delay unemployment for some Arizonans

A DES spokesperson said that some claims take more time to process because they're flagged by fraud indicators, though it was unclear if that was what was going on here.

"Due to confidentiality, we can't provide specific details about an individual's claim," said DES Deputy Press Secretary Brett Bezio. "However, we will have our team look into Ms. Greer's case to see what issues may exist and process her claim."


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No matter the subject, reporter Max Gorden seeks to tell compelling, impactful stories that spark debate and inspire thought. Read more about Max.

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