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Arkansas Unemployment Benefits

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Unemployment insurance is a government program that temporarily compensates residents who have recently found themselves without a job. Moreover, Arkansas unemployment petitions are processed through the state’s Department of Workforce Services (DWS). Thus, the DWS is responsible for accepting unemployment insurance (UI) claims, processing applications and conducting UI phone interviews with prospective applicants.

In general, candidates must be mindful of the eligibility for unemployment requirements before they enroll in Arkansas’ UI program. For instance, applicants who quit their jobs are typically ineligible to receive unemployment benefits. Furthermore, the sections below detail how workers can determine their eligibility and learn how to apply for UI online.

What is unemployment in Arkansas?

The Arkansas unemployment program aims to provide financial assistance to local workers who have recently become unemployed. Therefore, claimants can use unemployment insurance funds to support themselves and their families while they search for a new job. However, the application process to receive UI benefits can be rigorous. For instance, the DWS requires petitioners to submit detailed information regarding their financial and personal histories. In general, Arkansas UI applicants may be eligible to receive benefits for up to 25 weeks during a single calendar year. In addition, beneficiaries may be eligible to receive up to $451 each week during enrollment.

What are the requirements to get unemployment in Arkansas?

Workers may ask, “Who is qualified for UI in Arkansas?” In general, Arkansas eligibility for unemployment requirements are the same for all candidates across the state. In order to enroll in the program, the state examines the following:

  • How much claimants earned during their base periods
  • Whether or not claimants are willing and able to work
  • What the cause of an employment termination was

To determine UI eligibility, the Department of Workforce Services examines how much money applicants earned during the first four of the last five calendar quarters during their employment. In general, the DWS uses this information to determine whether or not petitioners are financially eligible to receive UI funds. Secondly, state qualifications for unemployment benefits require candidates to be able and willing to accept full-time work opportunities. A worker’s readiness to accept jobs is assessed through a series of questions asked throughout his or her UI enrollment period. Lastly, determining who qualifies for UI takes into account how residents lost their previous jobs. For instance, individuals who quit their jobs or lost them for personal reasons are typically ineligible to receive UI benefits. Conversely, candidates who lost work through no fault of their own are generally eligible to enroll in UI.

The requirements for unemployment insurance eligibility in AR do not typically change. As a result, certain scenarios typically disqualify beneficiaries from enrolling in the program. These situations include:

  • – In most cases, eligibility for UI does not include claimants who quit their jobs for non-qualifying reasons. For instance, being unable to find reliable transportation, disliking work schedules and not having proper child care are typically non-qualifying reasons. However, quitting does not always exclude applicants from enrollment. For example, candidates who experienced workplace harassment or domestic violence may still qualify to receive UI benefits.
  • – Candidates who are fired or terminated from their jobs due to employee misconduct generally do not qualify for unemployment benefits.
  • – Petitioners who refuse work opportunities after they have been laid off do not meet Arkansas UI insurance eligibility requirements. In general, refusing employment is perceived as proof that a resident is not willing to work.

How can I sign up for unemployment in Arkansas?

Filing an online application for unemployment in Arkansas is the state’s primary enrollment method. Thus, in most cases, applying for unemployment online in AR is the only application method petitioners need to know. Workers must make sure that they have the following information when preparing to apply for UI benefits in Arkansas:

  • Personal information – UI applications require petitioners to provide their Social Security Numbers (SSN), mailing and physical addresses and telephone numbers. In addition, they must include back account details if they elect to receive UI funds via direct deposit.
  • Employer information – Applicants must include their most recent employers’ names and contact information.
  • Supplementary information – Non-citizens must submit their Alien Registration numbers. On the other hand, union workers must include the names and numbers of their labor unions.

Applicants who file for an unemployment claim in Arkansas can expect the process to take approximately 30 minutes online. During this process, petitioners have the opportunity to save their applications even if they do not finish filling them out. However, the DWS portal only saves incomplete applications for 24 hours. After that time, unemployment registration applications are discarded. Thus, applicants who wish to continue filling out their applications after 24 hours must begin the process all over again.

How do I prepare for the unemployment insurance interview in Arkansas?

Certain claimants may need to participate in an unemployment phone interview administered by the DWS. However, these interviews are not always required. In general, they are necessary when applicants produce unclear or incomplete information during an application. Additionally, an unemployment interview with employer and claimant may be necessary if either of the parties submitted conflicting information.

Thus, UI phone interviews are generally conducted for the DWS to clarify any uncertainties found in an application. For instance, conflicting details may have been provided by workers and employers. As a result, the questions asked during unemployment interview are not always the same. Instead, questions vary depending on the specific issues that arise in each case. Employers and claimants wondering how to pass the UI interview must remember that providing succinct and accurate information is the most helpful action to take during this process. Therefore, employers and workers can prepare for the UI interview by having the following documents available:

  • Correspondence to Human Resources that discussed any potential conflicts between the worker and the employer.
  • Notes from the worker’s exit interview and performance reviews, if applicable.
  • Written warnings an employer or supervisor issued to the worker.
  • Written communication between the employer and the worker containing suggestions or complaints regarding workplace performance.

How do I claim unemployment benefits in Arkansas?

Applicants can claim unemployment benefits in AR after the DWS formally acknowledges that they are eligible to enroll in the UI program. However, during the process of claiming UI benefits, workers are required to submit weekly claims online or over the phone. Generally, these claims must be filed within seven days from the previous week’s end. Moreover, UI benefits claims are only legitimate if petitioners report all gross income they earned during that period.

In addition, to claim unemployment benefits in Arkansas, claimants must ensure that they have completed the program’s work search requirements. Thus, applicants must submit proof that they have been actively searching for work. To do so, enrollees must register with the DWS Employment Services. After registering, workers are assigned a number of potential employers that they must contact each week. Furthermore, individuals must contact their target number of employers or apply to their specified number of job opportunities in order to claim UI benefits.

What do I do if I am denied unemployment benefits in Arkansas?

Claimants who are denied unemployment in Arkansas have the right to appeal the DWS’ decision. Additionally, employers who disagree with the department’s decision also have the right to file an appeal. To do so, workers must submit their petitions to the Arkansas Appeal Tribunal online or over the phone. Moreover, a denied UI appeal must be submitted within 30 days after the DWS published the determination.

During a UI denial appeal in Arkansas, workers and employers have the opportunity to participate in the hearings. However, a non-appealing party is not required to attend. Furthermore, applicants and employers have the opportunity to bring forth witnesses to testify on their behalves in a denied unemployment benefits appeal. Similarly, both parties may elect to have legal representation present during the hearings, despite not being a requirement.

How can I apply for a federal unemployment extension in Arkansas?

A federal unemployment extension may be offered on a national basis during periods of high unemployment in the country. While uncommon, an Arkansas UI extension may also be issued during periods of high unemployment in the state. When offered, the extension allows UI applicants who have already completed their enrollment periods for the year to extend their benefits. Generally, extensions equal half of the state’s standard enrollment period of 25 weeks.

How do I contact the Arkansas unemployment office?

Candidates with specific questions regarding their claims or applications may wish to contact the Arkansas unemployment office. To do so, applicants can visit or call the UI offices maintained by the state’s Department of Workforce Services. For instance, in Little Rock, the DWS can be reached at the following address:

2 Capitol Mall

Little Rock, Arkansas 72201

Arkansas Unemployment Office Locations


Arkansas Department of Workforce Services #2 Capitol Mall Little Rock, AR 72201 (855) 225-4440 View Website Unemployement Claim File

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