Unemployment Information

How to apply for Unemployment Compensation

The Arkansas Division of Workforce Services has a hotline available for filing unemployment and other services. It is available seven days a week, from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 1-844-908-2178. You can also file claims online at https://www.ezarc.adws.arkansas.gov/. While the Fayetteville Workforce Center is open, in person visits are being discouraged in order to help with limiting the spread of COVID-19.

Latest Updates

May 16, 2020 Update

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Website down due to Security Breach 

Today, Governor Hutchinson announced a security breach involving the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance website. The website is currently offline. Applicants whose data was compromised will be notified and a credit monitoring program will be available to assist them.  You can watch Governor Hutchinson’s press conference here.


May 14, 2020 Update

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

On May 13, 2020 many Pandemic Unemployment Assistance applicants who filed during the testing phase from May 1-May 5 received a notification that they needed to resubmit their supporting documentation due to an error with the website. Residents who applied during those dates are encouraged to check and see if they need to resubmit their supporting documentation. Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston also announced that Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Payments could begin as soon as May 18.  

Residents can apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance through the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services here.


May 5, 2020 Update

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance is now open for applications 

The Arkansas Division of Workforce Services has launched the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance website and applications can now be submitted. Applications can be submitted seven days a week online from 6:00 AM-6:00PM. Applicants can also apply by phone between the hours of 6:00AM-4:00PM by calling 1.844.908.2178.

What is Pandemic Unemployment Assistance?

This new program stems from the CARES Act and provides unemployment payments to individuals who are not able to work due to COVID-19, who are not traditionally eligible for unemployment insurance

Who can apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance?

You can review your eligibility by using the online screening tool here.

  • Self-employed workers;
  • Independent contractors;
  • Non-profit employees;
  • Gig economy workers;
  • Individuals who work for employers exempt from participating in the regular UI program;
  • Part-Time workers without enough work history to qualify for regular UI benefits;
  • Individuals impacted by COVID-19 but not eligible for regular UI benefits due to a prior disqualification 

"Individuals are eligible for PUA if they do not qualify for regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits (including self-employed workers and independent contractors) and cannot work because they:

  • Are diagnosed with COVID-19 or have COVID-19 symptoms and are seeking diagnosis
  • Have a member of the household who is diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Are providing care for a family or household member diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Are the primary caregiver for a child whose school or care facility closed, due to COVID-19
  • Are unable to reach their place of employment due to an imposed quarantine, or because advised by medical provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19
  • Became the major breadwinner because the head of household died from COVID-19
  • Quit their job as a direct result of COVID-19
  • Had their place of employment closed as a direct result of COVID-19 or
  • Were scheduled to start new employment and cannot reach the workplace as direct result of COVID-19
  • Are a Gig worker who had wages before and during the pandemic that were diminished as a result of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency" (pua.arkansas.gov/pre-screening.overview

How long can benefits last and will qualifying applicants receive back payment to date they became unemployed due to COVID-19?

The program provides up to 39 weeks of benefits with ranging weekly payments based on income from the previous tax year (2019). Yes, for those who qualify the program will apply retroactively to the date they became unemployed due to COVID-19.

Are individuals who are receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance also eligible for Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation?

Yes, individuals receiving PUA will also be eligible for the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) for $600 per week for the week ending April 4th through the week ending July 25th.

What proof do you need to apply?

In order to qualify above the minimum benefit level, individuals will need to provide proof of earnings from the last tax year.  Tax return for 2019 is needed to establish the higher weekly benefit amount than the minimum. If you have not yet filed your tax return, you can provide supplemental information to increase the amount once taxes are filed. 

How do you apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance?

  • Online at pua.arkansas.gov between 6:00AM and 6:00PM daily
  • By Phone at 844.908.2178 between 6:00AM and 4:00PM daily 


May 4, 2020 Update 

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance to begin accepting applications on Tuesday, May 5th at 6:00 AM

In a press release this evening, the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services announced they will open the application process for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance on May 5th, at 6:00 AM. 

What is Pandemic Unemployment Assistance?

This new program stems from the CARES Act and provides unemployment payments to individuals who are not able to work due to COVID-19, who are not traditionally eligible for unemployment insurance. Examples of individuals who would now qualify for unemployment benefits include self-employed individuals, gig-economy workers and independent contractors.

What should you begin gathering to prepare to apply? Documents to provide proof you are self-employed and how your business was impacted by COVID-19 (additional guidance will be posted in the morning) Examples include:

  • Proof of Earnings from the last tax year or other financial documents;
  • 1099 forms
  • Business license 
  • Utility bills
  • Recent advertisements for your business
  • Contracts, invoices and or building leases

How do I apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance tomorrow?

Visit ARUnemployment.com for the latest information on how to apply. 

Resources

ARUnemployment.com 

ADWS Press Release announcing opening of the program


May 2, 2020

Claim filing system for self-employed workers and independent contractors (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance) expected to open early this week

The Arkansas Division of Workforce Services provided on update on the status of the new claim filing system for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. The new system is expected to be open early this week. You can sign up for email alerts to be notified about the opening of the system by utilizing this tool.

ADWS Pandemic Unemployment Update


April 24, 2020 Update

Unemployment website and hotline changes

The Arkansas Department of Workforce Services (DWS) shared two important updates today for unemployment claims filing, processing and questions:

  • The state’s online claims filing website will be temporarily offline on Saturday, April 25 from 6 a.m. to noon. The site is being moved to a larger mainframe, which will help with faster and more reliable online claims processing.

  • The DWS hotline for processing unemployment claims over the phone will be available seven days a week beginning this Sunday, April 26. That line is 1-844-908-2178, and it’s open from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For additional unemployment information from DWS: https://www.arunemployment.com/ 


April 23, 2020 Update

Arkansas Division of Workforce Services announces they will begin application intake for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance sometime next week

During a Statewide COVID-19 town hall last night, Division of Workforce Services Director Dr. Charisse Childers stated that application intake for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (a program created through the CARES Act which enables residents who traditionally can not access unemployment benefits such as self-employed persons, independent contractor, and gig-economy workers to receive unemployment benefits). 

Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston noted that qualifying applicants will also receive retroactive compensation to the time when their employment became impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Preston also noted it will be important for applicants to provide documentation of when their employment was impacted when applying.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Notification Sign Up

ARUnemployment.com


April 21, 2020 Update

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance: Guidance on how to prepare from the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services

Today, the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services announced that the claim filing system for self-employed workers, independent contractors and others who have lost self or contract employment due to COVID-19 is being developed and will be available soon. They also announced there are two things you can do now to be prepared to apply:

  • File your 2019 Federal tax return so you can verify your income. Payments can still be paid by the deadline, but it will be helpful to go ahead and file.  
  • Gather documents to provide proof you are self-employed and how your business was impacted by COVID-19. Examples include:
    • 1099 forms
    • Business License 
    • City Permits
    • Utility Bills
    • Recent advertisements for your business
    • Contracts, invoices and or building leases.

Click here to view the April 21, 2020 Arkansas Division of Workforce Services Announcement on preparing to apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

What is Pandemic Unemployment Assistance? This new program stems from the CARES Act and provides unemployment payments to individuals who are not able to work due to COVID-19, who are not traditionally eligible for unemployment insurance. Examples of individuals who would now qualify for unemployment benefits include self-employed individuals, gig-economy workers and independent contractors.

Arkansas Division of Workforce Services Press Release over status of Federal Legislation pertaining to Unemployment Benefits

State of Arkansas Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Information Signup


April 16, 2020 Update

State of Arkansas Launches New Unemployment Website and updates hours when residents can apply

The State of Arkansas has launched a new website for unemployment information: ARUnemployment.com

New hours to apply for unemployment have also been announced:

Apply Online: Sunday- Saturday 6:00AM-6:00PM

Apply by Phone at 1.844.908.2178: Sunday-Saturday 6:00AM-6:00PM

Sign up for email notifications about the upcoming Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program

State of Arkansas’s New Unemployment Website


April 13, 2020 Update

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Information Signup 

The Arkansas Division of Workforce Services is currently in the process of building a new system to accept Pandemic Unemployment Assistance applications. To receive information from the State on the status of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, click here to sign up for notifications

What is Pandemic Unemployment Assistance? This new program stems from the CARES Act and provides unemployment payments to individuals who are not able to work due to COVID-19, who are not traditionally eligible for unemployment insurance. Examples of individuals who would now qualify for unemployment benefits include self-employed individuals, gig-economy workers and independent contractors.

Arkansas Division of Workforce Services Press Release over status of Federal Legislation pertaining to Unemployment Benefits

State of Arkansas Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Information Signup


April 8, 2020 Update

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Update (CARES Act)

As part of the CARES Act, the Federal Government will provide a temporary Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) through July 31, 2020 of $600 per week for any worker eligible for state or federal unemployment compensation benefits. This FPUC payment will be paid in addition to regular state or federal unemployment compensation. This program includes tipped workers.

Today during Governor Hutchinson’s Press Conference, Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston announced that the first round of checks for the Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Program began being distributed yesterday. Dislocated workers who have been approved for unemployment compensation do not need to take any additional actions to receive the additional $600 per work allocated within the CARES Act. 

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program Update (CARES Act)

This new program stems from the CARES Act and provides unemployment payments to individuals who are not able to work due to COVID-19, who are not traditionally eligible for unemployment insurance. Examples of individuals who would now qualify for unemployment benefits include self-employed individuals, gig-economy workers and independent contractors.

Today during Governor Hutchinson’s Press Conference, Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston announced that it will be at least three additional weeks before this program is open for application. This delay stems from an entire new system needing to be built to process this program. The State also announced that impacted individuals who qualify for unemployment compensation through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program will receive back payment to the date you were impacted by COVID-19.

Governor Asa Hutchinson’s April 8, 2020 Press Conference


April 3, 2020 Update

During Governor Hutchinson’s Press Conference on April 3, 2020, the Governor discussed progress being made at the State level to process the high volumes of unemployment claims. You can watch the press conference by clicking here

U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issues new guidelines regarding Unemployment Insurance

The Department of Labor issued new guidance to States on how to manage new unemployment benefits in the CARES Act. 

DOL News Release:  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR ANNOUNCES NEW CARES ACT GUIDANCE ON UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE FOR STATES IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19 CRISIS

Unemployment Insurance Program Letter No. 14-20

Arkansas Division of Workforce Services issues new Press Release  concerning Federal Legislation 

The Arkansas Division of Workforce Service published an additional press release on April 3, 2020 "CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) Information- FEDERAL LEGISLATION". The press release explains that the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services is waiting for additional guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor before than can begin implementation of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program, the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Program, and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation. 


April 1, 2020 Update

During Governor Hutchinson’s Press Conference on April 1, 2020 Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston announced they are waiting for additional guidance from the Department of Labor on how to process Pandemic Unemployment Assistance applications. Individuals who are trying to access the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program of the CARES Act were advised not to apply at this time. The Department of Commerce stated they will issue a press release when the program is open.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program

The CARES Act also creates a new program called the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program through December 31, 2020. This new program provides unemployment payments to individuals who are not able to work due to COVID-19, who are not traditionally eligible for unemployment insurance. Examples of individuals who would now qualify for unemployment benefits include self-employed individuals, gig-economy workers and independent contractors. 

Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston announced that it will be at least three additional weeks before this program is open for application. This delay stems from an entire new system needing to be built to process this program. The State also announced that impacted individuals who qualify for unemployment compensation through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program will receive back payment to the date you were impacted by COVID-19. (April 9, 2020). 

Both the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program and the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation programs were discussed during Governor Asa Hutchinson’s press conference on March 28, 2020. To watch the press conference click here.


March 28, 2020 Update

On March 27, 2020 H.R. 748 CARES Act (also known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) became law. The CARES Act has multiple impacts pertaining to unemployment benefits:

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation 

The Federal Government will provide a temporary Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) through July 31, 2020 of $600 per week for any worker eligible for state or federal unemployment compensation benefits. This FPUC payment will be paid in addition to regular state or federal unemployment compensation. This program includes tipped workers. 

Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston announced that the first round of checks for the Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Program began being distributed yesterday (April 8, 2020). Dislocated workers who have been approved for unemployment compensation do not need to take any additional actions to receive the additional $600 per work allocated within the CARES Act. (April 9, 2020).

Frequently asked questions:

  • I’ve had trouble applying for unemployment insurance at the State. Will I receive back payment?
    • Yes. The State acknowledged today that individuals applying for unemployment compensation will receive back payment to their date of termination with their previous employer. 


March 22, 2020 Update

Unemployment information

Are you a resident who has been impacted by a layoff in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic? Are you a business owner looking for information pertaining to unemployment benefits? Please see the information below:

The Arkansas Division of Workforce Services has a hotline available for filing unemployment and other services. It will be available beginning Monday, March 23, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Call 1-844-908-2178. Also beginning Monday, you will be able to file claims online at https://www.ezarc.adws.arkansas.gov/. Please do not go to the unemployment office in person – call or go online.

The State has opened a new unemployment hotline, if you have had difficulties applying for unemployment online please call the new hotline at: 844.908.2178.

How to apply for unemployment benefits:

Online at: dws.arkansas.gov/unemployment/ezarc/

By Phone: 844.908.2178

Below you will find information from the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services on common questions pertaining to unemployment:

Notice to Individuals Inquiring About the Availability of Unemployment Insurance Benefits As a Result of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Common Questions and Answers for Workers Regarding the Unemployment Program and the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Common Questions and Answers for Employers Regarding the Unemployment Insurance Program and the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Other Unemployment Information

Assistance for workers impacted by layoffs or business closures:

Arkansas Division of Workforce Services Unemployment Insurance

Fayetteville Workforce Center

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Information for Employers

Go to our COVID-19 Business Resources page for additional information, detail and resources for  employers.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)  Benefits:  

Arkansas is suspending work requirements for SNAP benefits through the end of April 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Website