If you've recently lost your job in Arkansas, you may be eligible for Arkansas Unemployment Insurance benefits. Use this handy guide as a jumping off point to collecting all the benefits that are rightfully yours.
Filing for Unemployment:
Arkansas claims can be filed online or be mailed or brought to an Arkansas Department of Workforce Services (DWS) office in person. You can pick up a UI Claimant form (Application for Unemployment Benefits) at a DWS office or download form ESD-ARK-501 (PDF). Arkansas Department of Workforce Services office locations can be found online.
To be eligible, you must be:
- Physically and mentally able to perform suitable work
- Available for suitable work
- Making a reasonable effort to find work
- Free of participation or direct interest in a labor dispute
- Free of disqualification
Make sure you have the following information when you file your Application for Unemployment Benefits:
- Name & address
- Previous employer name & address
- Last date you worked & termination reason
Filing Your Weekly Claim:
You can complete weekly filings online, or by phone at 1-501-907-2590 (Sunday 12:01am – Friday 6:00pm). To file your weekly unemployment claim, you'll need your SSN, Personal Identification Number (PIN), and total gross earnings and hours if you worked.
You must make your weekly filing within 7 days after the Saturday of the week claimed. Make sure you file each week - If you skip a weekly claim filing, the system suspends you.
Beware of the Waiting Week. Your first week of benefits is called a "waiting week" – this means you will not be paid benefits during your first week of eligibility, but you must still file a claim to get credit for waiting.
All payments are made by debit card. For each claim, you will receive a deposit to your debit card the next business day after weekly filing date. If benefits cannot be paid that week, DWS will mail you a message stating why, mailed the next business day after weekly filing date. See more about the UI Debit Card (PDF).
Job Search Workshops are available, and in some cases required for unemployed Arkansas workers.
Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) is available to workers who lost their jobs or work hours due to work being moved out of the country, or imports that reduced your employer's workload. If you are certified by the Arkansas DWS as a Trade Affected Worker, you may also be eligible for:
- Reemployment Services – includes employment counseling, job development, job search services, among other services
- Allowances for cost of a job search outside your local area. Relocation allowances are available in selected cases.
- Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRC) – Up to 104 weeks of unemployment benefits for works enrolled in approved training
- Health Coverage Tax Credit – Check www.irs.gov for details.
- Training services – Up to 104 weeks of approved training
Filing for extensions:
The State of Arkansas has an Extended Benefits program during times of high unemployment, that allows for continuation of benefits in some cases. If your unemployment benefits run out, you may be entitled to extended benefits. Contact your local DWS office to see if you are eligible.
This part's easy – do nothing. When you stop weekly filing, your unemployment benefits automatically end.
If you file by phone, remember that the Arkansas Unemployment phone line (Arkline) is only available from Sunday at 12:01 am to Friday at 6:00pm.
If you skip a weekly claim filing, the system suspends you. This can delay benefit approval and delay payments.
Make sure you file weekly claims even if you are still waiting for your eligibility determination. If you recognize you were ineligible for a certain week, you still want to file if you remain out of work and still want unemployment benefits (ex: you took a one week job).
For more questions, see Arkansas' Dept of Workforce Services FAQ list.