The UI program is managed in Arizona by the Department of Economic Security (DES), which may require specific documents for different candidates. The sections below detail how workers can claim unemployment benefits by applying for the program and preparing for the UI interview.
What is unemployment in Arizona?
The Arizona unemployment benefits program is funded through tax dollars paid by companies to state and federal governments. Furthermore, UI benefits provide financial and social services to local workers who were recently unemployed through no fault of their own. In most cases, an unemployment claim qualifies a resident to receive benefits for up to 26 weeks during a calendar year. While there are no restrictions regarding what beneficiaries can do with their UI funds, they are intended to assist applicants financially while they search for work.
What are the requirements to get unemployment in Arizona?
AZ eligibility for unemployment benefits requires candidates to meet specific requirements before enrolling in the program. Moreover, all UI eligibility requirements must be met before a resident can enroll in the program. In general, these requirements include:
- Reason for unemployment – To determine who qualifies for unemployment, the DES must investigate the reasons behind a worker’s employment termination. For example, applicants who are laid off due to company closures or lack of work are likely to qualify for benefits. Conversely, residents who quit their jobs are typically denied UI benefits.
- Working availability – Qualifications for unemployment in Arizona include the fact that UI applicants must be able and willing to accept work. Thus, residents must be physically able to work full-time if given the option. Conversely, if a candidate is not able to work due to an illness, transportation issues, conflicting schedules or insufficient child care options, he or she may be considered ineligible to enroll in the UI program.
- Financial history – When evaluating UI candidates, the DES analyzes the first four of the last five financial quarters of each person’s employment. Moreover, applicants must have earned at least 390 times Arizona’s minimum wage during one of the quarters in the base period in order to meet eligibility for UI requirements. Conversely, in the other three quarters, candidates must have made at least half of what they made in their highest quarter.
How can I sign up for unemployment in Arizona?
Candidates may wonder how to apply for unemployment online or in-person after making sure that they are eligible to receive UI benefits. In general, it is advantageous for candidates to file an online application for unemployment in Arizona because the DES does not maintain UI offices throughout the state. However, petitioners who do not have internet or computer access can visit a DES office to file an application for free. In any case, when candidates apply for UI benefits, they must provide the following information:
- Identification – A resident must provide his or her Social Security Number (SSN), mailing address and state-issued driver’s license or identification cards during the application process.
- Employment history – Candidates must submit the names, addresses and phone numbers that pertain to employers they have had in the past 18 months. Additionally, applicants must inform the DES regarding their first and last days of employment.
Furthermore, applicants who file for unemployment may be required to submit additional information. For instance, non-citizens are typically required to submit their alien registration numbers and work-related documentation. Similarly, union members must provide the names and local numbers of their halls. In addition, federal civilian service employees must submit an SF8 or an SF50 in their application, and military members have to include a DD Form 214 to file for UI.
How do I prepare for the unemployment insurance interview in Arizona?
An Arizona unemployment phone interview is not generally required. However, workers and employers may need to prepare for the unemployment insurance interview if there are discrepancies between the statements of both parties. Furthermore, a UI phone interview may be required if candidates submitted incomplete or unclear information on their initial applications. Generally, DES representatives simply need to ask questions that can clarify the details on an application.
Many individuals are concerned with how to pass the unemployment insurance interview. However, a UI interview is not evaluated on a pass or fail basis. In general, the DES conducts UI interviews to gain additional information pertaining to an application that may contain uncertain details. Thus, during an Arizona UI phone interview, it is imperative for employers and workers to focus on providing accurate and well-documented information. On the other hand, the questions asked during the UI interview can vary significantly depending on each applicant. An unemployment interview with employer or worker typically benefits from having the following documents:
- Exit interview notes regarding the worker’s employment termination.
- Correspondence between employers and workers in which employment status or work performance was discussed.
- Written documents the worker submitted in order to improve his or her performance at a company.
- Written warnings that employers issued to the worker.
How do I claim unemployment benefits in Arizona?
In order to claim unemployment benefits in Arizona, applicants must wait until they receive an official notice from the DES. This letter, which is called Determination of Deputy, details whether an application was approved or rejected. After candidate are informed that they are eligible to receive UI, the process to start receiving benefits begins promptly. In Arizona, unemployment insurance funds are transferred electronically. Thus, residents claiming benefits for unemployment start receiving their UI funds quickly after signing up for electronic transfers.
However, it is important for workers to note that filing a UI benefits claim does not stop after they are accepted into the program. Thus, UI recipients must file claims every week during the period that they are enrolled in the program. Each weekly claim for unemployment benefits in AZ must include the following details:
- Work availability – Applicants must prove that were able and willing to work during the week in which they are requesting UI benefits.
- Work search – Residents must make at least one job contact during four different days throughout the week. Furthermore, proof of these efforts must be submitted along with each claim.
- Work refusal – Candidates are required to report whether they received any job offer and declined it.
What do I do if I am denied unemployment benefits in Arizona?
Applicants receive an official notice, called Determination of Deputy, after being denied unemployment in Arizona. This mailed letter outlines whether an application was approved or denied, as well as any eligibility issues that were identified. Moreover, both workers and employers have the right to file a UI denial appeal if they disagree with the department’s decision regarding their case.
In general, claimants who are denied unemployment benefits in AZ or their previous employers can file an appeal up to 15 days after a Determination of Deputy was mailed. These appeals can be submitted over the phone, via fax or online. In any case, workers and employers must provide detailed reasons regarding why they believe their case should be reevaluated. Moreover, a UI denial appeal hearing is typically scheduled within three to six weeks from when an appeal was received. All relevant parties will receive a Notice of Hearing letter, which outlines the times and dates for the hearings. Furthermore, most of these denied unemployment benefits hearings are conducted over the phone by an administrative law judge (ALJ). However, certain hearings are conducted in-person. Generally, a Notice of Hearing will denote how or where the session will take place.
The ALJ will only receive evidence that is brought forth during an Arizona UI denial appeal hearing. Thus, it is imperative for both parties to prepare well in advance for these hearings. Furthermore, both parties in a denied UI hearing are allowed to call forth witnesses to testify on their behalves. While legal representation is not a requirement, each party is allowed to have lawyers.
How can I apply for a federal unemployment extension in Arizona?
A federal unemployment extension can be offered when national unemployment rates become high. Similarly, an Arizona unemployment benefits extension can be activated during periods of high unemployment in the state. When a state UI extension is in place, enrollees can extend their benefits for up to an additional 13 weeks. Thus, these weeks are added on to Arizona’s standard 26 weeks of enrollment. However, in order to apply for the extension, petitioners must have exhausted their pre-established enrollment period and continue to meet all the eligibility requirements.
How do I contact the Arizona unemployment office?
The Arizona unemployment office does not maintain locations for UI applicants to visit. However, candidates with specific questions may visit the Department of Economic Security’s One-Stop Centers, such as the one located in Phoenix:
3406 N 51st Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85031