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

PHOENIX – Checks are in the mail, finally.

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

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

Four state agencies were affected, including the Department of Economic Security. Not only do the checks not come out, but people don’t get the forms they need to fill out, there are often deadlines like continuing benefits.

The company continues operations in Phoenix and is working to clean up backlogs.

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

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He also said the state will ensure anyone who does not meet a deadline to submit a DES form will not be penalized and the response dates will be renewed.

Also affected is the Revenue Department, whose printing jobs at Exela include about 20,000 refund checks. Rose said it will, too, ship this week.

Anyone who does not receive a timely notification from Revenue on an assessment will get additional response time, with no penalty, he said.

Letters from other agencies were affected, including the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System and the Department of Child Safety.

Exela’s computer problems are limited by the company and no state computer system has been compromised, Rose said.

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

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