State: Computer hack delays DES checks in Arizona | Govt-and-politics

PHOENIX — The checks are in the mail, finally.

That’s the message from the state Department of Administration this week to about 800 Arizonans who were counting on getting their child support, child care and unemployment checks by the first of the month.

The private company the state uses to print and mail correspondence, Exela Technologies, took its systems offline on June 19 after experiencing a cyberattack, said Megan Rose, the Administration Department spokeswoman.

Four state agencies were affected, including the Department of Economic Security. Not only did checks not go out, but people did not get forms they were supposed to fill out, often with deadlines such as for continuing benefits.

The company resumed its Phoenix operations and is working to clear backlogs.

The checks were printed Sunday and were sent out “first thing Tuesday” when the Postal Service reopened after the holiday, Rose said.

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She also said the state will ensure anyone who missed a deadline to send a form to DES will not be penalized and the dates for responding will be adjusted.

Also affected was the Revenue Department, whose print jobs with Exela include about 20,000 refund checks. Rose said these, too, will be mailed this week.

Anyone who did not get a timely notice from Revenue of an assessment will get additional time to respond, without penalty, she said.

Correspondence from some other agencies was affected, including the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System and the Department of Child Safety.

The computer problems with Exela were confined to that company and no state computer systems were compromised, Rose said.

Howard Fischer is a veteran journalist who has been reporting since 1970 and covering state politics and the Legislature since 1982. Follow him on Twitter at @azcapmedia or email

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