Questions and Answers for Workers Regarding Unemployment

Q: How do I file for a claim unemployment benefits?

A: There are a multitude of ways to file for unemployment benefits:

1. Visit www.ezarc.adws.arkansas.gov and apply online.

2. Effective Monday, March 23, 2020, a Temporary Claims Processing Hotline will be available for affected workers who require assistance in filing their unemployment claims. The Temporary Claims Processing Hotline can be reached at 1-844-908-2178 or 501-534-6304.

3. While not recommended, you may visit your nearest Arkansas Workforce Center office.

Q: The business where I work has temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Can I file a claim for unemployment insurance benefits?

A: Yes. The unemployment insurance program is designed to assist workers who are laid off through no fault of their own, regardless of whether their separation from employment is the result of COVID-19 or some other factor impacting a business. Affected workers should be encouraged to file their unemployment insurance claims with the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services.

Q: I am self-employed (electrician, plumber, construction, etc.) Can I still file a claim for unemployment insurance benefits?

A: The regular unemployment insurance program is not available to self-employed individuals unless they have wages from other covered employment. At this time, Disaster Unemployment Assistance has not been authorized by the President. Should Disaster Unemployment Assistance become available, DWS will notify the public via our website, social media and press releases.

Q: My employer is still open for business but I am not able to work at this time because I am in quarantine or am providing care for someone as a result of COVID-19. Can I file for unemployment benefits?

A: Yes, once you have received a separation notice from your employer an affected worker may file for unemployment insurance benefits due to COVID-19 related quarantine. DWS will investigate the reasons for your temporary separation. This investigation may result in a slight delay in receiving benefits.

Q: I filed my initial claim for unemployment benefits. What do I do next?

A: You will need to file weekly claims to receive benefits, either by ArkNet or ArkLine. You will need to begin filing your weekly claims on the Sunday following the day that you filed your initial claim for unemployment benefits.

1. To file your claim using ArkNet, go to www.ArkNet.Arkansas.gov. Follow the prompts and enter your answers for the questions that pertain to the dates outlined.

2. To file your claim using ArkLine, call (501) 907-2590. ArkLine is available for use on Sunday, 12:01 am to 6:00 pm, and Monday through Friday, 6:00 am to 6:00 pm. Follow the prompts and enter your answers for the questions that pertain to the dates indicated.

Remember to file your claim each week that you are unemployed to claim benefits!

Q: I’ve claimed my first week of unemployment. How long will I have to wait to receive my benefits?

A: For claims filed on or after March 16, 2020, the valid waiting period requirement has been waived for thirty (30) days due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Therefore, claims that are “otherwise eligible,” should expect payment of benefits the following week. However, different situations may exist that could delay receipt of benefits.

1. If your claim requires adjudication, it will require investigation and a written determination will be issued to you regarding your eligibility for unemployment benefits.

2. If you have out of state wages, there may be a slight delay in receiving benefits if you file a combined wage claim, which is where you combine your wages from all states.

3. There may also be a slight delay for those whose claim is based on federal wages.

Q: How will I receive my unemployment benefits?

A: Benefits are issued either Direct Deposit or by Debit Card.

1. Direct Deposit requires you to have a personal checking account or savings account. Payment for Direct Deposit takes about 2-3 days from the date the payment is processed. To select Direct Deposit, you must enter your account and routing numbers after logging into your account on www.ArkNet.Arkansas.gov. Benefits will be deposited into your account when due, based upon your current eligibility and the weekly information you certify.

2. UI Debit Cards are issued to anyone who does not elect to receive UI benefits via Direct Deposit. These cards must be issued by a bank and mailed to you. Benefits will be deposited into your card account when due, based upon your current eligibility and the weekly information you certify. UI Debit Cards are convenient and easy and may be used wherever Visa is accepted.

Q: Will I need to search for work after filing my claim for unemployment benefits?

A: Effective for claims filed on or after March 16, 2020, work search requirements have been waived for a period of thirty (30) days, or through the week ending April 18, 2020 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Therefore, you will not be required to register or search for work during the thirty (30) day waive period.

If you will only be unemployed due to a temporary reduction in workforce for a period of ten (10) weeks or less, it is recommended that your employer provide a letter to you with a specific return to work date that is within ten (10) weeks of your last day of work. This letter will exempt you from work search and expedite the process.

Q: What types of income do I need to report when filing my weekly claims?

A: Gross earnings (before any deductions) for all work performed for the week being claimed must be reported when filing your weekly claim for benefits. Also:

1. Report gross income earned by participating in military drill during the week being claimed – whether you have received payment or not.

2. Report gross Holiday Pay if you were off work for a holiday during the week being claimed – whether you have received payment or not.

3. Report gross Vacation Pay if you were off work on vacation during the week being claimed – whether you have received payment or not.

4. Report gross Sick Pay if you were off work on sick leave during the week being claimed – whether you have received payment or not.

5. Report Paid Time Off (PTO) if you were off work on PTO during the week being claimed – whether you have received the PTO pay or not.

6. Report gross Bonus Pay for any bonus payment received during the week being claimed. Also report any receipt of retirement pay or separation pay to your local office – as this may affect your eligibility for unemployment benefits.

Q: I was previously disqualified from receiving unemployment insurance benefits. Can I receive unemployment insurance benefits at this time because of the COVID-19 Pandemic?

A: Claimants who are under a disqualification from receiving unemployment insurance benefits must satisfy any disqualification prior to receiving unemployment insurance benefits.

Q: I received all of my regular unemployment insurance benefits, are there any extensions?

A: At this time, there are no federal or state extensions available to provide additional unemployment insurance benefits to individuals who have exhausted their unemployment insurance claims. Should such extensions become available, ADWS will notify potentially eligible claimants through our website and social media.

Q: I have questions regarding my unemployment insurance claim. Who do I contact?

A: Answers to most unemployment insurance questions can be found on our website at www.dws.arkansas.gov. You may also contact your local office or call 1-855-225-4440.

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