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Arizona unemployment checks with an extra $600 could come next week

PHOENIX – The state is adding $600 to the maximum weekly unemployment benefit of $240, and the first checks should go out as soon as next week, the Arizona Department of Economic Security said Wednesday. The money was added in response to the tidal wave of workers laid off because of the novel coronavirus, with new claims rising to almost 6.6 million in the U.S. this week.

The national numbers were reflected in Arizona, which reported a 25-fold increase in unemployment claims last week, approximately 1.2% of the state population. The Arizona Department of Economic Security said it received 88,529 applications for first-time benefit last week, compared to about 3,500 in a typical week, and destroying the former weekly record of 11,178 new applications the week of July 4, 2009, after the Great Recession.

“We are going to get them the dollars they are entitled to,” Michael Wisehart, assistant director for the unemployment insurance program at the DES, told the Arizona Republic.

Those in need of support who have reduced hours or have been laid off should not hesitate to file online or call 877-600-2722 for benefits, Wisehart said. The unemployment support is available through July 31.

As of Thursday, April 2nd the Arizona Department of Health Services has reported 1,598 cases of COVID-19 in Arizona, and 32 deaths. The department said 22,709 tests for COVID-19 have been completed in public and private labs in Arizona, and the results of 93% of those tests were negative.

TucsonSentinel.com’s Maria Coxon-Smith contributed to this report.

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