/ Modified may 21, 2020 10:26 a.m.

Unemployment help available on the weekend as Arizona claims continue to rise

The Department of Economic Security has expanded its call center days through the weekend.

Unemployment claims continue to rise in Arizona even as the state is beginning to reopen.

Gov. Doug Ducey emphasized at a Wednesday afternoon news conference that help is available for out of work Arizona residents.

To drive that point home, Ducey announced the Department of Economic Security is not getting time off.

“The DES call center will be open to assist on Sunday and Monday, which is Memorial Day, between 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.,” Ducey said.

More than 108,000 people in Arizona filed first-time unemployment claims last week. That jump was helped by a new program allowing the self-employed to file for benefits.

Ducey said more than $1 billion in unemployment benefits has been paid out in Arizona since the pandemic began.

That money includes a $600-per-week bonus from the federal government and the new federally funded program for the self-employed.

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