Arizona Unemployment Compensation Qualification

Where You Need a Lawyer:

(This may not be the same place you live)

At No Cost! 

 How Does Unemployment Work in Arizona?

If a person loses their job in Arizona through no fault on their part, they may qualify to receive unemployment benefits from the state.

The Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) accepts applications for unemployment insurance benefits and decides whether applicants are eligible to receive benefits. Generally, to qualify to receive unemployment in Arizona, a person must fulfill three requirements as follows:

  • A person must be unemployed through no fault of their own, as that is defined by Arizona law;
  • A person must have earned at least a minimum amount in wages or salary during a specified period of time before they became unemployed;
  • A person must be willing and able to work and must actively seek employment while they receive unemployment benefits.

How Can I Qualify for Unemployment in Arizona?

As noted above, a person must meet the qualifications for unemployment in Arizona. One of those requirements is that the person lost their job through no fault of their own.

So, if a person was laid off, lost their job in a reduction-in-force (RIF), or was laid off for economic reasons, they should meet this particular requirement. If a person was fired because they did not have the skills needed to perform their job competently or was considered not to be a good fit for the job by their employer, they would not necessarily be denied benefits.

If, however, a person was fired for intentional or reckless misconduct of some type, they may be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits. For example, a person may not be eligible for benefits if they failed to show up for work and did not offer any valid excuse. Or a person may have intentionally acted against their employer’s interests or intentionally violated the rules of the work site.

A person is not eligible for Arizona unemployment benefits if they voluntarily quit their job without a good justification. An acceptable justification would be that a person had a compelling reason to terminate their employment. For example, a person might leave their job because they were repeatedly asked to work in dangerous conditions. Or a person might have been subject to discrimination that did not stop in spite of the person’s requests.

Assume a person was fired in retaliation for reporting unsafe working conditions to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. They might qualify to recover other damages as well as their unemployment benefits. Or if the person is fired for complaining to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission about experiencing discrimination at work, they should qualify for unemployment benefits and possibly other relief as well.

Another acceptable reason for voluntarily leaving one’s employment is if the employer relocates to a place that is an unreasonable commuting distance for a person. If a person has a spouse who is in the military and the spouse is transferred to a new location, this gives a person another acceptable reason for leaving their job. They would qualify for unemployment benefits in Arizona.

How Long Does Unemployment Last?

Benefits are paid until a person has received the equivalent of 26 weeks of their weekly benefit amount or one-third of their total base-period wages, whichever is less. In other words, if a person has received one-third of their total base-period wages in less than 26 weeks, the unemployment benefit payments would end before the end of the 26-week period.

What Can I Do if I Run Out of Unemployment?

In times of very high unemployment, that is, when the official government unemployment rate is high, federal and state programs may offer additional periods of unemployment benefits. Additional unemployment benefit periods may offer a person the opportunity to get extra payments beyond the basic benefit period. But if the unemployment rate is low, then these programs are not available.

What Disqualifies a Person From Unemployment in Arizona?

As noted above, if a person quits their job voluntarily for a reason that is not acceptable, they would be denied unemployment. Or if a person were to be fired from their job for a good cause, they would not qualify for unemployment.

A person who is not willing and able to work or does not actively seek employment while they receive benefits does not qualify for unemployment. If a person is offered a job that is suitable for them, they must accept it. If they were to refuse it, their unemployment benefits might stop coming.

Whether a job is suitable depends on a number of factors, as follows:

  • What the pay is and how close it is to the pay the person received in their prior job;
  • The working conditions in the workplace of the new job;
  • The skills, experience, and training a person must have for the position and whether the person has them.

The longer a person is unemployed, the more likely it is that they would have to consider taking jobs that might pay less, are in a different field or type of occupation, or require a longer commute.

Under Arizona’s normal rules, a person must engage in a good-faith search for work. This would include registering with the Arizona Job Connection and making at least one job contact per day for four days every week. A person has to keep detailed records of their job search efforts, which they may have to submit to the DES with their weekly claim for benefits for review.

What Should I Know About Appealing a Denied Claim in Arizona?

If a person’s unemployment claim is denied, they have 15 days from the date of the denial to appeal the decision. A person can submit their appeal online, by telephone, or in writing by mail, fax, or email.

If a person appeals a denial, the DES holds an administrative law hearing on the appeal. The person should appear in person. They may testify on their own behalf, present other witnesses, and offer other evidence. An administrative law judge (ALJ) presides at the hearing. The judge directs the hearing and makes the decision to affirm the denial or reject it. A person may be represented by a lawyer but can also appear without an attorney.

The ALJ issues a decision in writing. If a person believes that the ALJ’s decision is wrong, they can file another appeal with the Appeals Board within 30 days of the date of the ALJ’s decision. If a person’s appeal to the Appeals Board is denied and a person believes that this is in error, again, the person may appeal the decision of the Appeals Board decision in a state court. This must be done within 30 days of the decision issued by the Appeals Board. A person can find complete information about appeals on the DES website.

Where Can I Find the Right Lawyer?

If you have lost your job through no fault of your own, you may well qualify to receive unemployment benefits. You want to consult an experienced Arizona employment lawyer.

Your lawyer can review the facts of your situation with you and determine whether you qualify for unemployment benefits in Arizona. If your application is denied, your lawyer can help you file an appeal. Your lawyer can protect your rights all through the process and give you your best chance of success.


16 people have successfully posted their cases

Find a Lawyer