By Dave Wells

At a recent community meeting on the state’s budget crisis with Republican and Democratic legislators a courageous Karen Ickes shared her family crisis. Both her husband and she are unemployed, but, after losing her job, for eight weeks her family had to survive without receiving an unemployment check.

She told state legislators how deeply this impacted her family. She held back tears as she revealed some of the tough questions she struggled with daily: “How do you tell your kids, you’re close to being homeless?” “How do you tell your children, they may not be able to afford to keep the pets that have always been part of your family?” And “How do you respond when your daughter offers her birthday money to help pay the rent?”

Karen’s family is not alone.

Arizona’s antiquated unemployment processing system leaves most workers waiting weeks for their first check. Half of those qualifying for unemployment benefits wait at least six weeks for their first check, according to the Department of Economic Security. Although when the check arrives it includes payment for the missing weeks, families wait weeks trying to survive a financial crisis not knowing when, or if, their check will come. Foisting such added suffering upon struggling families is intolerable.


Chris Mollo said...

I have now bwwn waiting over 3 months to receive my first unemployment check. I can't get through on the phone, and the website keeps telling me that they are still processing my paperwork. I'm about two weeks away from losing my car and I just gave up my apartment two days ago and had to move back in with my parents at 34 years old. I'm sick over this. Arizona sucks. I absolutely hate this foul state. I'm moving back East as soon as I can afford it. I have no idea who would want to live in this God forsaken desert. My story is one of many. No wonder people resort to drastic measures.