Arkansas Unemployment Compensation Qualification

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 When Are Employees Eligible For Unemployment Benefits?

Employees who are unemployed, through no fault of their own, are generally eligible for unemployment benefits. However, there are some other circumstances in which someone who is employed may also be eligible to receive unemployment benefits:

  • Fired Employees: Individual state law determines whether a fired employee is eligible to collect unemployment benefits. An example of this would be how an employee who is fired for an illegal reason may be eligible, while an employee who was fired for serious misconduct would be ineligible to collect unemployment benefits;
  • Laid Off Employees: Employees who are discharged or temporarily laid off due to the company closing, work reductions, or lack of work may be eligible to collect unemployment benefits. This is largely because they were out of work through no fault of their own; and
  • Employees Who Quit: An employee who quits on their own may still receive unemployment benefits if they quit because of a “good cause,” and tried their best to keep the job.

Some examples of misconduct that generally render an employee ineligible to collect unemployment benefits include:

  • Theft: An employee who steals or commits theft from the company, or other employees, would be ineligible to collect unemployment benefits;
  • Crime: An employee who commits a serious crime or an illegal act during the scope of their employment, or related to the job, would be ineligible. Examples include assault, driving under the influence, and battery;
  • Violation of Safety Rules: An employee who violates company policy or company safety procedures, when intentionally or willfully, would most likely be ineligible to receive unemployment benefits; and/or
  • Failing A Drug or Alcohol Test: If an employee fails a drug or alcohol test that is required by their employer, they would be ineligible to collect unemployment benefits.

Some reasons that an employee who quits may still be entitled to unemployment benefits include:

  • Medical Reasons: If an employee quits the job because of a serious medical reason, injury, or a disability, they may be eligible to collect unemployment benefits. However, many states require that the employee’s medical reason and/or the cause of the injury be related to the job in order for them to remain eligible for unemployment benefits;
  • Sexual Harassment: If the employee was forced to quit their job because there was constant sexual harassment and abuse that existed in their work environment, the employee may be able to collect unemployment benefits. This would be because they were forced out of work at no fault of their own;
  • To Care for a Family Member: Some states allow employees to collect unemployment benefits if they were forced to quit their job due to an illness in the family, and they were required to quit work in order to care for the family member; and
  • Dangerous Working Conditions: If the employee was forced to quit because there were constant dangerous working conditions which the employer refused to address, it is likely that they will be eligible to receive unemployment benefits.

An eligible employee who wishes to receive unemployment benefits must do the following:

  1. File a claim with their local unemployment office;
  2. Learn the requirements in order to determine whether they are eligible and qualify to collect unemployment benefits;
  3. Determine whether their past earnings meet the amount required by their specific state;
  4. Ensure that the reason for their leaving qualifies to receive unemployment benefits;
  5. Be willing to work, and be ready to actively look for work; and
  6. Complete the unemployment insurance interview with their state office, if required.

If you are denied unemployment benefits and you believe that you are actually entitled to unemployment benefits, you may file an appeal in order to be reconsidered. The appeal must be filed within 20 days after the original denial.

How Do I Get Unemployment In Arkansas?

The qualifying criteria for unemployment benefits varies from state to state. If you are unemployed and live in Arkansas, you can seek unemployment benefits from the Unemployment Division of the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services (or, DWS).

In order to qualify for unemployment in Arkansas, you cannot be out of work because of your choice or fault. As was previously mentioned, if you quit your job, you must have what is considered to be a good reason as to why you did. Additionally, if you were fired, you could not have been fired for breaking rules or not doing your job.

Regardless what kind of job you had, you can only get unemployment benefits if your former employer paid unemployment insurance taxes. Additionally, you must have earned money in the last 2 quarters of your base period. Your total base period must equal 35 times your weekly benefit amount.

It is important to note that you cannot be involved in a labor dispute, and must be ready and able to work. For each of your children who is under 18 and living with you, you can receive an extra $24 per week. Finally, unlike other states that encourage people to apply as soon as they become unemployed, you must be out of work for at least one week before you can file for unemployment in Arkansas. This is referred to as the “valid waiting period.”

You can apply in person at any Department of Workforce Services office, or by mail by picking up a form at any public building. You can also apply online through EZARC. In order to apply, you must provide:

  • Your social security number;
  • Your name and mailing address;
  • The name and address of your last employer; and
  • Your last day of work.

If you were already receiving unemployment benefits and then stopped using it, you can reopen your claim online through EZARC. When you restart your claim, you do not have to go through another valid waiting period.

How Long Do Unemployment Benefits Last In Arkansas?

The maximum amount of time that unemployment can last in Arkansas is 25 weeks. The minimum amount you can receive is $81 per week, while the maximum is $451 per week.

While you are receiving unemployment, you must be actively seeking work and contacting a certain number of employers every week. On either the 13th or 19th week of unemployment, you must report how many work contacts you have made.

If you still do not have a job after the 25 weeks of benefits, you may be able to apply for additional assistance in the form of Extended Benefits. However, Extended Benefits are only given during periods of considerably high unemployment throughout the state. Even if you do not qualify for Extended Benefits, or if these benefits are not currently being offered, you should remain in contact with the DWS office. The staff can help you find a job or obtain training necessary for entering a new line of work.

If you have been denied benefits that you are otherwise eligible to receive, you can file an appeal with the Appeal Tribunal within 20 days. If the Appeal Tribunal agrees with the decision made by the Department of Workforce Service, you can follow up with the Board of Review. However, you only have another 20-day deadline. If you still disagree with the outcome, you can file another appeal with the Arkansas Court of Appeals.

Do I Need A Lawyer For Help With Arkansas Unemployment Compensation Qualification?

An Arkansas workers compensation lawyer can assist you when working on your unemployment claim. If you must appeal a decision, you will have a better chance of winning if you have a lawyer helping you.

Additionally, your attorney will also be able to represent you in court, as needed, should any other legal issues arise.


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