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DES Board Fails To Send Appeals To Courts

A state board charged with overseeing unemployment insurance, cash assistance and food stamp cases has failed to hand over more than 100 cases that have been appealed to the courts. Those are the findings of a recent court order.

When people are denied unemployment or food stamps, for example, they have the right to appeal. That happens in front of the Appeals Board at the Arizona Department of Economic Security, which administers the programs.

If that panel denies the appeal, there’s still another chance to challenge that decision, this time, in front of the Arizona Court of Appeals.

It’s the department’s responsibility to send those appealed cases to the court within 20 to 40 days depending on the paperwork. Except that hasn’t been happening, according to court records.

Cases have sat around at the department, anywhere from a few months to more than two years.

A court order from February shows that 140 unemployment insurance cases that had been appealed, some dating back to 2014, had still not been submitted to the court. The order required the department to hand over all the outstanding ones.

A spokesperson for the department told KJZZ on Wednesday evening that DES has already begun working with the court to follow the order and correct the problems, but couldn’t provide more information at the time about why some cases had been neglected for years.

Will Stone grew up with the sounds of public radio. As a senior field correspondent, he strives to tell the same kind of powerful stories that got him into the business — whether that means trudging through some distant corner of the Sonoran Desert or uncovering an unknown injustice right down the street. Since joining the KJZZ newsroom in 2015, he has covered political scandals, fights over the future of energy, and efforts to care for some of Arizona’s most vulnerable communities. His pieces have also aired on national programs like Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Here & Now and Marketplace. Before coming to KJZZ, he reported for public radio stations in Nevada and Connecticut. Stone received his degree in English literature from Haverford College, where he also wrote about the arts and culture scene in Philadelphia. After graduating, he interned at NPR West in Culver City, California, where he learned from some of the network’s veteran reporters and editors. When he doesn’t have a mic in hand, Stone enjoys climbing mountains, running through his central Phoenix neighborhood and shamelessly promoting his cat, Barry.