The unemployment insurance (UI) program is intended to be used as temporary income replacement and income protection for individuals who have experienced an unexpected loss of wages due to unemployment. Through the Arkansas Division for Unemployment Services, you can obtain UI benefits for a maximum of 52 weeks, which makes up one benefit year.
In the state of Arkansas, you must be completely unemployed to qualify for UI benefits. At the same time, you must be available to work on a full-time basis, physically able to work, and willing to participate in a reemployment service program (RES). With the assistance of an RES, you must maintain a work search record of the contacts you have made through your search for employment. In some cases, you can also qualify for UI benefits if you are currently working on a part-time basis; however, you must be earning approximately 140 percent less than your potential weekly benefit amount in order to be eligible for UI benefits.
According to state law, you cannot receive more than $451 per week or less than $81 per week in UI benefits. These set amounts can change depending on whether the minimum wage or unemployment rate increases in the state of Arkansas. Moreover, your eligibility will be determined based on the total wages that you have earned in the 12-month period before your claim is filed. This period is known as your “base period,” and it is determined by considering your wages from the first four quarters out of the last five completed quarters of the calendar year. In most cases, you must have earned enough wages in the base period to qualify for benefits. If this is not the case, however, you can automatically qualify for the alternate base period that may permit you to receive UI benefits. The alternate base period is made up of the last four completed quarters of the calendar year. In specific, you must have earned wages in at least two of the four quarters that make up your base period, and your total wages from your base period must be equal to or greater than 35 times your weekly benefit amount; this amount is determined by dividing your total wages from your base period by 26. The number 26 is used because you can only receive UI benefits for a maximum of 26 weeks in one benefit year.
How to File a Claim
You can choose to file a UI claim online by using the web-based system known as ArkNet. You can also submit your claim by telephone using the automated telephone system known as ArkLine. Finally, you can submit a claim in-person by visiting your local office for Workforce Services. You will need the following items to complete the application process:
- Social Security Number, address, and telephone number
- Driver’s license or identification card
- Employment history from the last 18 months, which includes the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all your previous employers
- Dates of employment and the reasons for separation from all positions held within the last 18 months