One of the biggest struggles with being unemployed is a lack of finances. That is why every state offers unemployment benefits to out-of-work residents. In Arizona, qualified residents can obtain Unemployment Insurance benefits through the Department of Economic Security (DES).
How to Qualify for Unemployment
Like most other states, Arizona requires that you were employed during a base period to qualify for unemployment. In Arizona, the requirement is that you were employed for the past 4 out of 5 fiscal quarters. So, if you apply, in August 2016 then the state will look at your work history from April 2015 to March 2016. You must have earned at least $7,000 or more during that work period and at least $5,987.50 during one of those quarters. Otherwise, you need to have earned at least $1,500 during one quarter, and your entire payment during the base must be 1.5 times higher than your highest quarter. Also, you cannot have lost your job because it was your fault. This means that if you quit, you need to have a good reason for quitting, and if you were fired, then it cannot be because you violated and policies or rules at work.
You do not have to have a certain kind of job in order to qualify, but your former employer needs to have paid unemployment taxes. Keep in mind that you apply for unemployment as soon as you lose your job because you will not get past benefits for the weeks you were not working.
How to Apply for Unemployment
There are several documents you will need to have to apply for unemployment. You have to have your social security number or your alien registration number if you are not a citizen. You should also have your Arizona license or state ID, but you can still finish the application without it. You also need your mailing address; the county you reside in; the name, address, and phone numbers for everyone you have worked for in the past 18 months; the last day you worked; any vacation, severance, or bonus pay you received; and the name and local number of your union if you had one. If you worked for the military, you will need your Copy # 4 of your DD Form 214. If you worked for the Federal Civilian service, then you will be required to show your SF 8 or SF 50.
If you stopped filing your benefits for any reason, such as getting a temporary job that did not work out or moving, you can re-activate your account by logging back into your account.
How Long Does Unemployment Last?
Your unemployment benefits will likely last up to 26 weeks. During that time, you have to file weekly benefit claims to keep receiving benefits. The claims basically check to make sure you qualify for unemployment and are still not working. You have to search for jobs at least 4 days out of the week and make contact with one of the jobs you listed. By your third week, you need to send in a Certificate of Understanding form. Lastly, you have to register with the Arizona Employment Service.
What Can I Do If I Run Out of Unemployment?
In situations where there is high unemployment throughout the state, Arizona may extend the benefits an extra 13 weeks. To get extended benefits, you must first go through all of the 26 weeks of regular unemployment benefits. You also have to meet special work search and other requirements.
To assist you in finding new employment, and get a new source of income, employees of the Arizona DES will help you set up accounts to find jobs and reach out to employers. You can also ask for training to gain skills for a new job.
What Should I Know About Appealing a Denied Claim in Arizona?
If you are denied, then you have 15 days to file an appeal with the Office of Appeals. The Office of Appeals will give you a chance to speak, present testimony, and show evidence to an Administrative Law Judge. If the judge confirms the denial, then you have 30 days to appeal with the Appeals Board. Even if the Appeals Board denies your application, you still have one more shot at getting approved by filing a complaint in court. However, you only have 30 days to file the complaint.
Where Can I Find the Right Lawyer?
There are many parts to filing for unemployment that can be tricky. This is why it is so important to speak with an Arizona employment lawyer when putting your application together. Also, if you are denied, then you should reach out to a lawyer immediately to start the appeals process.