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What to Know About Arizona’s Unemployment Benefits

Unemployment insurance benefits in Arizona are provided by the state to help unemployed Arizonans who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.

Unemployment benefits in Arizona are available to those involuntarily unemployed. Workers who are unemployed by no fault of their own and able and willing to work can file for unemployment benefits through the state.

Who Is Eligible for Unemployment Benefits in Arizona?

Unemployment benefits in Arizona may be available to people who have paid enough into the system, are currently unemployed, and previously worked for an employer who paid unemployment tax. To collect unemployment benefits, you must:

  • Be able and willing to work
  • Available and actively seeking work
  • Lost your previous job through no fault of your own
  • Meet the minimum wage requirements for the base period
  • Register with the Arizona Employment Service office

Arizona unemployment eligibility requires all employees to be able and willing to work. This means all filers must have reliable childcare and transportation to be eligible for unemployment compensation. Employees fired due to misconduct or violating company policy may not qualify for unemployment insurance benefits.

Arizona also requires filers to have worked in the state within the last 12 months. If you worked in a different state and now live in Arizona, you can file a claim with your previous state. If you worked in both another state and Arizona concurrently, you could combine your wages to establish monetary eligibility. You might qualify for state unemployment benefits if you worked part-time as long as you earned the minimum wage.

Some employee types are also exempt from unemployment benefits. For example, Arizona unemployment law excludes independent contractors from claiming unemployment assistance. Contractors, however, may qualify for other assistance programs like the American Rescue Plan Act.

How Much Is Unemployment in Arizona?

Your unemployment insurance benefits in Arizona are based on earned wages. The weekly benefit amount you can receive is 4% of the wages you earn in the highest earning quarter of your wage base period (WBA).

You can calculate your WBA by adding up your total payment within the highest four-month period and then dividing that by 26 weeks. Arizona residents must make at least 390 times the state’s minimum wage in their highest earning quarter. The total of all other three quarters for the year must be at least one-half of the amount in the high quarter calculation. The maximum weekly benefit amount available in Arizona is $320 per week, and the minimum is $224.

Arizona unemployment insurance benefits also factor in severance, vacation, holiday, or sick pay that you receive. Failing to meet the minimum wage requirements can lead to a ruling of monetary ineligibility, meaning you don’t qualify for benefits.

Keep in mind that unemployment insurance benefits in Arizona are not retroactive, which means you won’t receive payment for previous weeks before filing, even if you were unemployed. All Arizona residents are also required to file a waiting week claim between the last date of employment and the week you want to collect benefits.

While receiving Arizona unemployment benefits, you must continue looking for employment. If you refuse a job offer while collecting unemployment, you may lose your eligibility.

How to Apply for Unemployment Insurance Benefits in Arizona

You can apply for Arizona unemployment benefits with the following steps:

  1. Collect documents: You’ll need personal and employment information to file for unemployment insurance benefits.
  2. Choose how you’ll file: You can file for unemployment benefits online since Arizona doesn’t have Unemployment Insurance offices for in-person filing. If you don’t have access to a computer, you can visit a One-Stop Center or Employment Service office resource center to fill out an application for unemployment insurance benefits online.
  3. Check eligibility requirements: The online application process will notify you of any issues with your filing, giving you the chance to add additional documents. Receiving a confirmation number typically means your claim is approved. You should receive a guide to benefits, wage statement, and a certificate of understanding within a week of receiving your confirmation.
  4. Choose payment method: Arizona allows payment via direct deposit or electronic payment card (EPC).
  5. File claim: Submit your unemployment insurance benefits application online. Arizona also requires you to register with Employment Services before receiving assistance.
  6. Recertify benefits: It’s important to note that Arizona requires all unemployment beneficiaries to recertify benefits each week. This involves reporting any earnings you receive during unemployment weeks. You’ll need a PIN for identity verification purposes.

Making a mistake when recertifying your unemployment claim can lead to delays or loss of Arizona unemployment insurance benefits. Request a correction as soon as possible to avoid your claim being flagged as fraud. If you’re denied unemployment insurance benefits, you have a right to appeal.

What Documents Do You Need to File for Unemployment Benefits in Arizona?

You’ll need the following documents to file for unemployment benefits in Arizona:

  • Arizona-issued driver’s license or state ID (You can still file for unemployment without these documents)
  • Arizona mailing address
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Social Security number or Alien registration number
  • DD Form 214 if active duty in the last 18 months
  • Standard Forms 8 or 50, if you were employed by the United States federal government in the last 18 months
  • Contact information and employment dates of any jobs held in the last 18 months
  • Proof of wages received, including severance or vacation pay
  • Banking account information
  • Name and phone number of your union (if applicable)
  • Pension information (if applicable)

Failing to include important information, like work history, may be considered fraud. Fraudulent claims can not only deem you ineligible for benefits but lead to expensive fines and imprisonment.

How Long Can You Receive Unemployment Benefits in Arizona?

You can collect unemployment benefits in Arizona for a maximum of 26 weeks. However, this maximum timeline may vary, depending on the current unemployment rate in Arizona. For example, recently, the Arizona revised statute reduced the maximum number of weeks to 24 because labor statistics reported the state’s unemployment rate dropped below 5%.

The state also implemented a pandemic unemployment assistance program in addition to the federal pandemic unemployment compensation program that helped workers through executive orders and closures throughout COVID-19. However, the Arizona Department of Economic Security no longer offers these programs.

Arizona residents will no longer receive compensation once they reach the current weekly claim limit. However, if you’re unable to work due to a disability, you may have other options available, like temporary disability benefits.

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