Arkansas Unemployment Eligibility

Certain conditions must be met during each week for which benefits are payable.

Non Monetary Eligibility

  • Unemployed through no fault of your own
  • Physically and mentally able to perform suitable work,
  • Available for suitable work,
  • Make a reasonable effort to find work,
  • Must register with DWS Employment Services
  • Free of participation or direct interest in a labor dispute
  • Must quit or get fired for “just cause” related to work

In addition to the above requirements, a waiting period of one (1) week must be served before benefits are payable to you. A week to be used as a valid waiting period must be a valid week of unemployment. A valid week of unemployment must be a week you have claimed subsequent to filing your Initial Claim, in which you did not have any earnings or had earnings of less than 140% of your Weekly Benefit Amount, met all Eligibility Requirements, and week for which you are not disqualified.

Monetary Eligibility

To qualify you must have covered wages (wages on which your employer has paid UI tax) in at least 2 quarters of your base period; and your total Base Period wages must equal not less than 35 times the Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA).



If your old claim expires, and you want to file for a new claim, in addition to the above requirements, you must also have Requalifying Work; covered work equal to 8 times your new Weekly Benefit Amount earned since the date you initially filed the old claim.

Eligibility Questions

Can I collect unemployment if I am fired in Arkansas?

Regardless of how you left your job, you can always file for unemployment benefits. Whether you’ll get those benefits is different thing. If the unemployment board grants unemployment, the employer has the right to appeal the decision and to show evidence why the unemployment benefits are not warranted.

Generally, fired employees can only get unemployment benefits if they can prove their termination was wrongful or against labor laws. In many cases, you’ll have to prove your case during a claims investigation or appeals process.

Can I draw unemployment if I am laid off?

Unemployment benefits are designed to help those who lost their jobs through reasons beyond their own control.

If you get laid off because the business can’t afford him, you are usually eligible for unemployment benefits. If you were laid off because you weren’t right for the job, then also you may be eligible to collect unemployment.

When you get laid-off, it is not your fault. Getting laid-off doesn’t mean that you were fired or you did something wrong. Once you get laid-off from your job, you should immediately apply for unemployment benefits.

What happens if I quit my job?

Before you quit your job, make sure you are taking the appropriate steps to qualify for your unemployment insurance benefits. More importantly, make sure you have a “good cause” reason to actually quit.

“Good cause” reasons may include: unsafe working conditions; or a work environment that is damaging to your health. You’ll need medical verification proving that your work is making you sick or making an existing condition worse.

You may also qualify for unemployment under the “good cause” exemption if there has been a change in your working conditions that is causing hardship or harm.

You may also qualify if your original employment contract has been broken by your employer.

Other “good cause” reasons may include:

  • Sexual harassment
  • Quitting to protect yourself or your child from domestic violence.
  • Quitting a job within 30 days of your start date because it ended up being “unsuitable

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.

More Questions?? —-> Read Eligibility Q & A Section

Want to know about how much you will receive?? —–>Calculate your benefits here



  1. Starting in a few weeks, my kids will need to be dropped off to care later than my start time at work (I work remote, but my kids care center will be opening a half hour after my start time). My boss will not adjust my hours. If i quit due to the hardship this is causing, will it be considered good cause?

    1. Dear Sam,
      Unfortunately, there is no way to answer your question with 100% certainty, however, you should:

      –Document in writing (email or text) your boss’s response to your request for 1/2 hour later start time
      –Document the change it Care Center hours

      Your first obligation is to care for your child, and officially unemployment offices (including my homestate, AR) acknowledge that caring for someone else–including a child–is good cause.

      Your chances of getting unemployment benefits are excellent. Sorry to hear your boss is so inflexible.

      Best,

      Jean

  2. I am a customer service rep for a bank. I started in August 2021 and was in training for 7 weeks. I was in one department for roughly 3 months before moving to a different department. I’ve with in this 2nd department 2 months. Customer service is important, right? Well, there telling me that if I can’t get my call time down, there gonna late go. Would I be able to get unemployment? In ar, btw.

    1. Dear Nichole,
      In AR, you must have worked to have coverage for 2 quarters of your base period. Since you’ve been employed there nearly 7 months (including training) you should qualify if they fire you. I quote from another page on our site: <>

      I would document everything they write in emails, and write it down after you meet with a supervisor. The more evidence you have the better off you are.

      Best,

      Jean

  3. I have been at my job for 7 years. I have took various promotions and I now work in the office. People keep quitting and they keep giving me more and more things to do with no raise and without replacing the people that quit the other jobs. I’m constantly stressed and I find it hard to keep up. Can I quit under hostile workplace conditions? If so how long would it take to receive unemployment? This job is starting to affect my health and mental well being

    1. Ryan,

      This is a tricky situation. Hostility is a valid reason for your to quit and claim UI benefits. I suggest you call the Unemployment Office and speak to a rep. before making a decision.

  4. I’ve withstood a very stressful and what feels like a hostile work environment. 12 weeks ago the sales manager of the sign shop I worked at quit and took another job. The owner and sales manager brought me in and offer I take their jobs over and will get to earn commission; I have just been the receptionist for the last year and 4 months. I trusted them and agreed to try it out. The training before the manager left was scarce due to their child being sick, but we stayed in touch after so I could finish their sales projects (about 25 projects, some of which with price tags over $30,000!). The stress of these projects is immeasurable and the support since the manager left is ridiculous. The owner let that manager run the business and knows nothing of how to help me in my role. When Ive gone into her office crying or trying to express how I need help or how I feel, she stiffens up and has said things like “You just need to be in control, don’t you” or “I’m not sure what the problem is or what you want me to do.” Furthermore, I can’t go back to my old role in the store because they’ve hired a new receptionist! Today, she yelled at me in front of the new receptionist and called me “combative”… I have started therapy and am looking at other health insurance options bc the business doesn’t carry EAP and I feel completely in distress. I have at least 3 panic attacks a week now while at work and have to walk around. It’s just too much. I want to quit and I think that’s what the owner wants too, but will don’t feel prepared or in the right state to interview for another job immediately. Can I draw unemployment?

  5. i have been off for 5 months on a medical leave of absence.my dr has determined i cant hsve a sirgery i need at t this time due to a different medical condition diagnosed while on leave.my dr has determined i can return to work with restrictions caused by the original diagnosisbut my employer says i cant come back with any restrictions..will i be able to collect unempkoyment in arkansas?

    1. Mary,

      Unfortunately, personal reasons such as medical conditions are not considered. UI benefits are only extended to claimants who lose employment due to involuntary reasons.

  6. My employer is requiring that all employees take the covid vaccine as a requirement for remaining employed. I, and others, refuse to take the vaccine so we are being put on permanent leave of absence rather than being fired. Can we collect unemployment benefits while on forced leave of absence?

    1. Carey,

      I don’t think you can. Please check for local regulations on the official website of the Unemployment Office in your state.

  7. I’m employed full time and started working at a employment Agency for the place I’m working now. I’ve worked a little over 6 months now. I have been put on restrictions by my dr, can they fire me for any reason? My ankles hurt. I’m still on restrictions. Can I quit working there and file for unemployment because the job is hard on my ankles snd feet?

      1. The sonic i work in has standing water..water drips from ceiling it gets so hot ur dripping sweat all day while trying be clean at preparing food..I started having panic attacks stressing over other people not showing up and non stop complaints from customers the bosses above me seem to not care always getting called in on days off got moved up to manager been there over 2 years and with move up to manager got only dollar raise..I ask for days off to take my kids to appointments and still get scheduled to work

        1. Misty,

          You can be eligible to claim due to hostile working conditions. Please make sure to keep supporting docs handy in case of a dispute.

  8. I am considering quitting my job due to mental health, i’m a veteran with ptsd and because of my work schedule I am not able to attend counseling as needed and because of the meds I take don’t allow me to operate heavy machinery, I am not able to take my meds on days that I have to work and i’m not able to take my sleep meds if I have an appointment and work on the same day because I usually sleep over into my work hours ( I work 12 hours shifts). Would I be able to get Unemployment?

    1. Nel,

      UI benefits are generally offered to claimants who lose their employment due to involuntary reasons. Please check further with the Unemployment Office.

  9. I have a full time and part time job trying to make ends meet. I was terminated due to Covid19 in my part time job. Can I receive unemployment assistance for the part time job loss?

  10. can you still receive unemployment if your claim has be exhausted and you had to leave your job due to school closing because of the cov-19 and you have noone else to keep your child I live in Arkansas

  11. I’m about to be part of a voluntary layoff for my employer do to covid-19 I’ve been considering going back to school to finish my GED and pursue my EMT license is I am a volunteer firefighter and first responder and would like to expand on that training to be more help to my community

    1. My full time job has hired a person for my position and mentioned I would be moving to a non-existing sales position and going from part time to full time. I do have another job that I work part time as needed but I am afraid my full time employer in phasing me out. Would I possibly qualify?

  12. I was terminated from my job of 3 years in July 2016. I was denied unemployment benefits at that time but have since worked for 3 months in a job that is soon to end. Can I refile for benefits?

    1. Kim,

      To be eligible, the claimant is required to have active employment and earnings in the last 4-5 calendar quarters.

  13. I am becoming a priest and part of that requirement is to attend a seminary out of state, specifically Texas. My spouse would come along with me but he will have to quit his job. Would he qualify for unemployment benefits while he attempts to find a job in Texas?

    1. Brandon,

      Your spouse might be eligible for UI benefits on the basis of a ‘Trailing spouse’. Please contact the Unemployment Office for clarification.

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