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Phone Updates for Jobless Benefits No Longer Allowed

Some 90 thousand people getting jobless benefits are going to be in for a surprise on Saturday when they try to file their weekly update

Until now those who get the weekly checks could simply dial in to the Department of Economic Security and verify they looked for work by hitting hit a few buttons to answer some automated questions. But a new law requires recipients to engage in a ``systematic and sustained effort'' four days a week to find a new job during. The agency's Mark Darmer said that includes things like checking help wanted ads and visiting employment web sites. And there another new requirement to make at least three actual work search contacts during the week.

"Did they either go to the employer to get an employment application and fill it out and leave it with the employer?" Darmer asked.  "Did they go to the employer and leave a resume? Did they go on line and file an application?"

He said that does not necessarily mean a face-to-face interview.

"It's one thing to go out and look at the job postings," he said. "But you have to apply if there's a position that is open and would seem to fit into your chosen career field."

Darmer said about 90 percent of recipients have used the phone system. Now, they will find a recording that they have to file a full report detailing their efforts online or, if they do not have a computer, with a form they can get at an employment services office. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.