Arkansas Unemployment Calculator
The Arkansas Unemployment Calculator is a handy tool designed to help you estimate your weekly benefit amount. This calculator takes into account various factors such as your past earnings and work history to provide an estimate of Arkansas unemployment benefits.
Arkansas Unemployment Benefits Calculator
How are Arkansas unemployment benefits calculated?
Unemployment benefits aren’t determined by your financial needs, but instead are based on how much your employer paid you during a 12-month period known as the base period. The more money you made during this base period, the higher your weekly benefit amount (WBA) will be, up to the maximum weekly benefit amount that can be paid.
Your weekly benefit amount is calculated by dividing your average wages during the base period by 26.
The minimum weekly benefit amount you can receive is $81, and the maximum benefit amount is $451. You can receive UI benefits for up to 16 weeks of total unemployment. In 2024, this drops to 12 weeks after a new Arkansas law was passed. Your weekly benefit amount is approximately 42% of your weekly gross income.
You may collect up to sixteen times the weekly benefit amount in regular unemployment insurance (UI) benefits or one-third of your total base period wages, whichever is less.
What is a base period?
The Traditional Base Period includes the first 4 out of the last 5 completed calendar quarters before the quarter when you file your initial claim for benefits. It is used to determine your eligibility as well as your weekly benefit amount.
If you apply for Arkansas unemployment and can’t establish a traditional base period claim but have earnings in the fifth quarter immediately before the quarter you filed in, you might be eligible for an alternate base period claim.
The alternate base period is the four completed calendar quarters right before the quarter when you file your initial claim. This alternate method was designed to help low-wage or part-time workers establish claims who are eligible for Arkansas unemployment using the traditional base period.
Your unemployment benefit amount is based on your earnings before filing your initial claim and doesn’t change during your benefit year. The benefit year is the 12-month period that starts on the first day of the calendar quarter when you file a valid claim. If you use up all of your benefits before your benefit year ends, you can’t file another new claim until your benefit year is over. Typically, you can only collect up to 26 weeks of benefits unless there is a UI benefit extension in Arkansas.
How do I get paid?
Receiving your unemployment benefits is made easy through either a debit card or direct deposit. It typically takes just 2 days to receive payment after you file your weekly claim.
You can select your preferred payment method when you file an initial, additional, or reopened claim with the local office or by accessing ArkNet. If you’ve been claiming each week and decide to change your method of payment, you can do so through ArkNet.
If you choose to have your benefits directly deposited into your checking account, be sure to have your banking information available when filing your initial, additional, or reopened claim or when selecting the direct deposit method through ArkNet.
Each time you claim a payable week, a deposit will be made to your debit card or your checking account. If, for some reason, benefits can’t be paid due to an issue with your claim, you’ll receive a message card in the mail explaining why.
Weekly claims are processed the night you file your weekly claim. Any messages are mailed the day after you submit your claim, unless the following day is Saturday or a holiday. To inquire about a previously filed weekly claim, you can call ArkLine or access ArkNet. Please wait until the Friday of the week you filed your claim before contacting your local ADWS office about your unemployment insurance payment.
If you choose to receive your benefits via a debit card, note that after you have claimed your first payable week, it will take 5-7 business days from the date that the weekly claim was processed to receive your debit card.
Working Part Time
You can work part time and still collect UI benefits, depending on how much you earn. Part time income will affect how your unemployment insurance benefit amount is calculated.
You might qualify for reduced benefits during a week when you work less than 40 hours and earn under 140% of your weekly benefit amount. Make sure to report all earnings and hours worked, whether you’re working full-time or part-time. Otherwise, you may receive an overpayment and possibly face charges of unemployment fraud.
Keep performing your Arkansas UI work search requirements and be ready to accept new job opportunities.
When filing your weekly claim, you’ll be asked specific questions about your pay. Deductions will be made if your earnings exceed 40% of your unemployment insurance benefit amount. For instance, if your WBA is $300.00, and you earned $100.00 in part-time wages in a week:
Weekly Benefit Amount: $300.00
40% Earnings: 40%
$300 x 0.4 = $120.00
Earnings over $120.00 will be deducted from your unemployment benefit.
Other issues that can affect how your benefits are calculated
Other types of payments can impact your weekly benefits. Here’s a list of some other income types you need to report:
- Earned income from participating in military drills during the week claimed
- Holiday pay if you took time off for a holiday during the week claimed
- Vacation pay if you were on vacation during the week claimed
- Sick pay if you missed work due to an illness during the week claimed
- Paid time off (PTO) if you took PTO during the week claimed
If you get more than one of these types of payments during a claimed week, you must add up the gross amounts of each payment and report the total gross earnings.
If you don’t agree with how the earnings are later applied to your claim, contact your local DWS office or file an appeal.
Paying taxes on your unemployment payments
When you receive unemployment benefits, you may wonder if you have to pay income tax on them. The answer is yes – federal income taxes apply.
The 10% reduction for unemployment tax will only occur after other deductions, such as for UI overpayments or child support obligations. If there isn’t enough money left over after those deductions to pay the income tax amount in full, then no unemployment tax deduction will be made for that week.
If you receive unemployment compensation, you must report it as taxable income on your federal income tax return. You have the option to have federal taxes withheld, which will be taken out at a rate of 10%.
You must also report unemployment compensation on your Arkansas state income tax return. At the end of January each year, the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services (ADWS) will send you a Form 1099-G that shows the total amount of benefits you received the previous year. Be sure to keep your address up to date with ADWS so that you receive the tax form at the end of the year.
If you decide you want to change your withholding status, you can do so one time during your benefit year. Just contact your local office to make the change.