Updated: Jun 14, 2021
Commerce Secretary Mike Preston announced that, starting June 28, Arkansans receiving unemployment benefits will once again be required to certify that they are looking for work.
He said the number of Arkansans receiving unemployment had fallen over the past four weeks, from a high of 122,000 to 106,000.
In addition, about 32,000 Arkansans are receiving assistance through a federal program for gig economy workers, independent contractors and the self-employed.
"So those numbers around the state, while certainly are still much higher than we've ever seen as a state," are "moving in the right direction," Preston said.
When claiming benefits for the week ending July 4 and after, individuals will have to report the number of job contacts they made that week.
The number of contacts required is based on geographic location. Individuals receiving regular unemployment benefits or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) who live in larger metropolitan areas must make three (3) contacts a week.
The larger metropolitan statistical areas include: Benton, Cleveland, Craighead, Crittenden, Faulkner, Garland, Grant, Jefferson, Lincoln, Lonoke, Madison, Miller, Perry, Poinsett, Pulaski, Saline, Sebastian, and Washington counties. Individuals residing in rural areas must make two (2) job contacts each week.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claimants have the same requirements, except for those who are self-employed. Self-employed PUA claimants must be engaged in activities designed to resume their usual self-employment, rather than making job contacts. Self-employed PUA claimants should enter the number of days on which they were engaged in activities designed to resume their usual self-employment.
Those claiming Extended Benefits will have enhanced work search requirements and must provide a written log of job contacts each week in order to receive benefits. Individuals receiving Extended Benefits who live in larger metropolitan statistical areas (as listed above) must make four (4) job contacts a week while those in rural areas must make three (3).
Individuals with recall to work dates that are within 10 weeks of their initial or additional claim filing date are exempt from the work search requirements. If the recall to work date is more than 10 weeks, the individual must do the required work search.
In order to receive the work search exemption, a claimant must provide DWS with a written letter from their employer that includes the claimant’s name, last four digits of the claimant’s SSN, their last day of work, and the date to be recalled to work. Claimants will need to mail or deliver the letter to their local Arkansas Division of Workforce Services Center.