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Updated : December 17th, 2020

State: Arkansas (AR)
Phone Number:(501) 907-2590 to file an Unemployment Compensation Claim (Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm). ; Employer Account Services : (501) 682-3798; Unemployment Insurance Administration :(501) 682-3200 ;
Major Towns:Little Rock, Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Springdale, Jonesboro, North Little Rock, Conway, Rogers, and Pine Bluf
Current Unemploymnet Rate in Arkansas

Arkansas Unemployment Questions

Is Unemployment Insurance tax deducted from my paycheck?
No, deductions are not made from your paycheck. Arkansas employers who are covered by Arkansas Employment Security law are required to a pay a quarterly tax on their payroll. This tax funds your benefits.

Do I ever get paid for the Valid Waiting Period Week?
No, the law requires that each individual serve a Valid Waiting Period for the first eligible week claimed. Although you do not get paid for this week, the maximum benefit amount is not reduced or affected.

Do I have to serve another waiting period if I reopen my claim?
No, only one Valid Waiting Period is required for the life of a claim. However, once a claim expires and another new claim is filed, another waiting period must be served.

Do I report gross or net earnings when I am claiming weekly benefits?
You must report the number of hours you work and the gross wages earned for each week claimed. Earnings must be reported for the week in which they are earned - not the week in which you get paid.

I get paid on production work and I don't know how much my gross wages are going to be until I get my paycheck. How can I claim the week correctly if I don't know how much my paycheck is going to be?
If you are not sure what your pay will be for a week, you must wait until you actually get paid to claim that week. DWS Regulation 14(a) provides that, in the case of partial unemployment, an individual has 14 days from the date the wages are paid to claim the week.

If I find a part-time job while I am drawing unemployment insurance, do I have to report the wages I make each week?
Yes, you must report the number of hours worked and the gross wages for every week you work and claim, no matter where you are employed.

What if I don't agree with the decision the DWS makes concerning my eligibility for unemployment benefits?
Either interested party (claimant or employer) who disagrees with a decision issued by DWS may file an appeal. The Appeal Tribunal is a separate entity that will hear your case and render a new decision. The next level of appeals is the Board of Review, followed by the Arkansas Court of Appeals.

Do I have to take a job that pays less than what I made on my last job?
Individuals who are required to look for work must be willing to accept suitable work when offered. Suitability of a job can depend on many factors - such as how much the new job pays, how long you have been unemployed, and what you were paid on your last job. The law does not specify that the pay must be the same as last employment.

Can I go to school while I draw my unemployment benefits?
Arkansas Law requires that a person be able and available for work while drawing unemployment, and be willing to accept suitable work if offered. However, exemptions from work search can occur if you are attending school full-time and are enrolled in a training course that is approved by the Department Director; or if you are attending school full-time in an approved Federal program such as the Trade Act. Check with your local office to determine if you qualify for any type of exemption. If you do not qualify for work search exemption, you may still be eligible for benefits while attending school. There are several factors considered when determining if school attendance will affect a person's eligibility for Unemployment Insurance Benefits. The most important factor is availability for work. In other words, your schooling must not interfere with making your minimum number of assigned job contacts or your ability to accept work.

What happens when my benefits run out?
If you have not become re-employed by the time your unemployment insurance is exhausted (drawn out), contact your local office to determine if or when you might qualify for additional benefits. You may qualify for another regular claim for benefits or extended benefits, if we are in an extended benefits period. Even if you are not able to establish a new claim, please continue to visit your local DWS office so they can assist you as much as possible in your search for new employment.

Questions & Answers

      1. I worked for a temporary service and gave notice to take care of my son before the assignment ended. However the unemployment office stated when speaking to the staffing agent they stated the assignment ended and I didn’t quit. How does the unemployment office determine eligibility with that info??

        1. Sharise,

          Well, its all about the type of exit. If it’s considered “voluntary” on your end, the claim might not be approved.

  1. I was involuntarily terminated on 11/16/18. Due to management not processing a form on time, I just received my lump sum vacation pay check on 12/14/18. When I make my weekly claim via ArkLine, do I have to report the amount from the vacation check as income earned during that week? Technically, it was for vacation earned prior to this month but, through no fault of mine, I’m just now getting the money for it.

  2. I am going to have to resign from my current job to home school my child who is being bullied at school and her therapist recommends she is transferred to another school but the school district will not honor the reccomendation. If I resign will I be able to collect unemployment until I am able to find a job that is at night or weekends?

  3. I have worked at my job for over 2 years. I have catatonic seizures which causes me to have irrational and occasional verbally combative behavior. These have occurred at work and usually are result of stressful situations. The last one I had was over two months ago. I was allowed to resume work after my head cleared on that day. I was suspended from my job two months later even though I hadn’t done anything wrong. would I be eligible for unemployment benefits while being suspended. I have been told I would remain on suspension until I get fit to work order from the worker compensation doctor. This doctor doesn’t want to give me this until I am seen by a nuerologiist. I have been told this could take up to six weeks.

    1. Bill,

      Generally, personal reasons as health conditions are not considered. However, if the working conditions are leading to health hazards or otherwise, please call the Unemployment Office to ascertain eligibility.

  4. I was honorably discharged from the USMC September 12, 2017. My husband is still active duty and we moved on orders to Fayetteville, AR. I am a 32 week pregnant full time online student with a 1 year old already. Can I qualify for Arkansas unemployment benefits since my schooling is to qualify me for my desired job field? Anticipated graduation is Fall 2019.

    1. Esther,

      Please call the Unemployment Office in your state for further details since they may have an exclusive program for you.

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  6. If I start going to school and have an approved training program that allows me to continue to draw monetary benefits will I be able to draw for the full length of the program which is 15 months or will I be eligible to get an extension?

  7. I think I’m going to be fired for performance reasons in the next few weeks. If I resign in lieu of termination, would I still be eligible for unemployment benefits? Thanks.

    1. Chris,

      You will not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

  8. i have a buddy that works jobs and was fired from his main job of 9 yrs. 16can u collect unemployment while working a part time job

  9. I have worked at a company for 25 yrs in upper management. there have been changes in management recently and because of personality conflicts upper management recently gave me and a couple others the “opportunity to resign” or be fired. We resigned with severance packages. We were not given reasons, but other remaining employees were told we had agreed it was time to part ways and move on, which wasn’t true.
    Are we eligible to draw unemployment?

    1. You can be, as long as separation from employment was involuntary.

      Please wait until the severance payout is over.

    1. Unemployment Insurance benefits are only extended to those who lose their job due to involuntary reasons. If there were compelling reasons to quit (eg: hostile working conditions), you can apply.

      Please call the Unemployment Office to confirm.

  10. This is my husbands second week to file. This week he got holiday pay. He included it and when he did it now says his claim is denied. What did he do wrong?

  11. I have been a hotel manager for a small franchisee with 3 properties for nearly 3 years. Since the beginning of this year I have been managing 2 of those properties instead of just one. My pay was increased to 40,000 a year at that time. I was recently told the 2nd hotel was not making enough money so they were eliminating my position there and running it themselves. This will cut my pay by 35 percent to 26,000 a year. If i quit due to the reduction in pay will i be able to draw benefits? The companies are structured in an odd way. They are two seperate corporations in name but owned by the same couple and my work week was split between the two. They often share employees between all 3 properties. I recieved two seperate paychecks. I was salaried in both positions. One paycheck was for the rate of 26,000 a year and the other was for the remaining 14,000 per year.

    1. You will not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

      Please call the Unemployment Office in your state for further information.

  12. I am currently on workers comp. due to an injury at work. My employer made me wait a year before receiving medical insurance, workers comp is taking good care of me to present time. My one year anniversary was Sept. 9th 2016. After repeated calls to the job asking to talk to owner about having them add me on the medical insurance, I received no callback. So I decided to go there on Sept. 23rd to actually talk to boss face to face. He said he had to replace me, and that I no longer have a job there. When I asked him when he replaced me, his response was Sept. 9th. which would be my anniversary date. He said after workers comp. released me, I could go draw unemployment benefits. Later that afternoon he called me three times, and I could not answer the phone, so when I arrived at home, he was in my driveway and said he changed his mind and made a mkstake and wanted me back. I am concerned that he may have thought what he did was illegal in some sort, and is just trying to cover his rear end now. I dont want to go back after the way I have been treated. If I refuse to go back now, can he deny me unemployment insurance?

    1. Well, if he refuses to take you back, you can be eligible to claim Unemployment Compensation in your state.

      In case if they deny on the basis of the feedback provided by your employer, you can file an “Appeal”. Please speak to the Unemployment Office in your state.

        1. Yes, it does make a difference. If paid in installments, you may have to wait until the payout ends.

          Please contact the Unemployment Office in your state for further information.

  13. I was fired from my job in Arkansas but have enough to quarter in N.M. to draw unemployment. How do I do this?

  14. My company does not have a fmla plan for my current position. It is strictly your boss that decides your time on and off and the excuses that go along with that time. If I have to miss time because of sick family, personal sick days, and etc. And my employer fires me, does that fall under the category of “no fault of my own?”

    1. Also, I have been denied a layoff from said company. I have a family member who is very ill and not expected to get better anytime soon. I really need some information on what my options will be if my company ends up firing me.

      1. You will not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

        Please lookout for other options online.

    1. Please specify the nature of your query. You must be earning the prescribed wages to qualify for Unemployment Compensation.

  15. Ive been working for about 4 wks now and I’ve never received over 30 hours they have me down as a full time employee but I’m getting part time hours

    1. You can be eligible to claim the lost hours. Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state and apply accordingly.

  16. I quit my job due to my employer failing to maintain safe work environment. Am I still eligible for unemployment?

      1. I filed for unemployment and began the weekly claim for Nov 23, 2019 and then claimed for Nov 30, 2019. I’ve since received 2 letters stating my weekly benefits were not being paid because a decision is being made. How long does it take before a decision is made? Bills are stacking up, the Christmas holiday is only weeks away and I’ve been applying for jobs in my area every week. This is stressing me out. The FAQS don’t address the process of how long the waiting period is and what constitutes a decision making to pay or not to pay. Is it waiting to hear back from my former employer who agreed to pay for my unemployment insurance or what?

        1. Tracy,

          I can understand your situation. There may be a delay due to the holiday season. All I can ask you to do is keep chasing the Claims Center until you have your first payment.

  17. Would I be eligible for unemployment if I quit my job (with notice) because my husband was ordered to relocate to another state in the military?

    1. Please check with the labor dept in your state. Generally, personal reasons such as moving with spouse is not considered.

  18. if i am a paid caregiver and become the guardian i can legally no longer get paid so can i draw unemployment

  19. I gave my two weeks notice due to moving and the company let me go that day. I am wondering if this is considered being fired and i can claim unemployment.

  20. I am needing to leave work to care for my mother. The hours I work will not allow me to be the primary caregiver. I have been told that I could qualify for unemployment benefits in the state of Arkansas. Is this correct?

  21. I worked from the 11th of June 2013 to the 8th of November 2013 last paycheck was on the 15th of November do I qualify for unemployment benefits?

    1. Hi Shirley,

      30 hours of work per week should help you receive partial unemployment benefits as anything below 40 hours a week is considered for reduced payment. But please do not forget to report all earnings and hours of work whether you are working full time or part time. Also, you must continue to look for and be available to accept work.

      Gross earnings (before any deductions) for all work performed for the week being claimed must be reported when filing your weekly claim for benefits. Wages are to be reported in the week earned, regardless of when you actually receive your pay from your employer.

      Earnings from commission sales are also reported in the week earned if the amount is known. If the amount cannot be determined at the time the week is claimed, it may be reported during the week received.

      Deductions will be made from your Weekly Benefit Amount when your earnings are more than 40% of the Weekly Benefit Amount. Here a procedure to calculate your partial benefit amount –

      1. Calculate your weekly benefit amount using our calculator tool

      2. Check your weekly earning. If your weekly earning is more than 40% of your weekly benefit amount, proceed to the next step.

      3. Calculate the 40% of your weekly benefit amount. Consider this X.

      4. Now –> your weekly earning – X = Y.

      5. You weekly benefit amount – Y = Reduced benefit amount.

      I have tried to simplify this as much as I can. Hope this helps.

      If you receive any other pay like holiday pay, vacation pay, bonus pay etc., please do not forget to add it up and also mention while you file your claim.

  22. My unemployment claim was denied and I went to work nov 12, 2012 and then was laid off after 4 weeks due to business being slow. Do I reopen my old claim even though I never drew anything or do I file a new one? Thank you so much

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