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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

Questions & Answers

  1. Amanda says:

    My husband is a delivery driver and has developed major back pain associated with sitting for hours. We are seeing specialists and he has been out of work for a week already. He will not be able to go back to his job because the pain is unbearable. Will he be eligible for unemployment benefits? He has been at his job for 2 years and was at his previous job for 10.

    • Sam says:


      Your husband may not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.Please call the Unemployment Office.

  2. Cynthia Ochoa says:

    I am a employer ,i pay cash and give to my employees 1099 form , i pay my business taxes the end of the year, can they take unemployment if the job is slow an they quit?and look for another job

    • Sam says:


      They can be eligible to claim partial or full benefits. Please call the Unemployment Office for clarification.

  3. Steve Webb says:

    I have been on disability since 2010. My case has recently been terminated. I am unemployed. Can I collect unemployment benefits until I find a job?

    • Sam says:


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

      Please call the Unemployment Office for clarification.

  4. Sharryl Hearn says:

    I was let go on my job because I had to have a full hip replacement. They called me and said that they could no longer hold my position . This was in April 29th 2017. My last day with them was Nov 26th 2916. I have been on shorticulture term disability up till June 6th. I am now going to long termine Timmy July 21st. If I am fully recovered I can ask for my job back. My question is if they do not hire me back can I collect unemployment till I find a new job ?

    • Sam says:

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

  5. Kay Porter says:

    I had gone through the proper channels, my Director and HR which only made matters worse for me. After being forced to go higher with my concerns, “THEY” made an official complaint of harassment and retaliation against my Director on my behalf. I was not the only person receiving this treatment in the facility. It was and still is very common knowledge throughout the facility. They performed an 8 hour investigation, not talking to anyone other than My manager and director before they closed the complaint with “no findings to support “my” claims.” I was transferred to another department, in a another location of the facility, but the harassment continued from the first day of the transfer. I submitted my resignation citing that “I was no longer able to work in such a hostile environment and that the change of location had done nothing to reduce those levels of hostility.” I left in what I thought was good standings (trying to avoid their history of “black-listing” those who quit or get fired)with a 6 week notice and even trained my replacement. I even continue to answer phone calls to help them figure out how to handle situations. I have applied for so many positions that I am perfectly qualified for over the last 2 months, and gotten not one single offer (not even a single reference check). This company has a huge reputation for “black-listing” people who leave, but are extremely careful in covering their tracks. This is a small town and all HR departments are friends. I have tried to not make it known why I left, siting that the job that was once done by 3 people, I could no longer keep up with and have any time at night to study. Which is also true. If I go to apply for unemployment benefits, will the reason I resigned be made public for possible future employers to see or become aware of?

    • Sam says:


      You don’t have to be too concerned about UI benefits. Please apply and make sure to keep supporting documents handy in case of a dispute by your employer. I don’t think there is any purpose in “releasing” the information. You can call the Unemployment Office in your state for further consultation.

  6. Wenona says:

    I was terminated on June 3, 2017 because the employers “want to try new stuff” to help their business and didn’t need as many employees. I worked there for 17 months. When should I file and am I even eligible to receive unemployment benefits?

    • Sam says:

      You should be eligible to collect Unemployment Insurance benefits as long as it was an involuntary separation.

      Please consider applying until you find another job.

  7. S anon says:

    I work as An hourly wage employee for an Arkansas state institution. my position has been relocated to another site 45 miles away from home . I have children, a family that needs me to remain local. If I do not agree to relocate my position and drive an hour and a half to and from work each day, what are my options regarding separation of employment and unemployment benefits ? I currently live in the same town where I work I accepted my position ( and employment offer) five years ago.

    • Sam says:

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

      Please call the Unemployment Office for further details.

  8. Carl says:

    After 14 yrs at my job was fired for missing work due to a family crisis, I have vacation time coming, is he obligated to pay me for it?

    • Sam says:

      I am not really sure about payment for the Vacation Time.

      Please inquire with the Labor authorities in the state.

  9. Rachel says:

    If I have to leave my job due to my husband’s job relocation (in the same state, 3 hours away)am I eligible for unemployment? I have been there several years.

    • Sam says:

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

  10. Stephi says:

    My company was going to lay me off in November, for the second time since 2009 (newspaper business). My supervisor asked that I be transferred instead. I accepted this job in the Customer Service call center. The pay was much lower, the trainer is abusive, the training is terrible, the job was making me sick and the supervisor yelled at me and threatened to fire me. Should I file an appeal when I am turned down for unemployment benefits? I have no proof, and any potential witnesses still work for the company.

    • Sam says:

      When you file an appeal, they will ask for proof and documentary evidence.

      You should be prepared to fight it out by making a strong case.

  11. Alana says:

    Hello. I am trying to find out if I would qualify for benifits. I work at a public school for 1 week at the start of the current school year (Aug 2016) but had to resign to loss of child care for my two young children . I have now found childcare once again but are unable to find work. Would I qualify?

    • Martin says:

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

      Please contact the Unemployment Office for clarification.

  12. Tammy Butler says:

    I left a temporary position in California and moved to Arkansas. I am having a very hard time finding a job. Do I qualify for unemployment? If so, in my new state?

    • Martin says:

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

  13. Christina says:

    My husband found out he had a groin hernia and he gots to have surgery. His employer doesn’t offer workers comp. He has been with them almost 7 yrs. Me his wife doesn’t work, cause I’m a stay at home mommy cause he makes enough. He could be out at least 4 weeks maybe 6. We depend on his job for bills and to have are vehicle to get to and from. Without any income coming in we could lose everything and no where to go and we have 2 children. So that being said will he be able to file for unemployment during that time he is out. Thanks for any info.

    • Martin says:

      Unfortunately, personal reasons such as health issues are not considered. Your husband may not qualify to claim Unemployment Benefits.

      Please call the Unemployment Office for further information.

  14. Tammy helms says:

    I broke my arm (not work related). My employer had to terminate me because i had only worked for them for a month and could no longer do heavy lifting. Will i be eligible for unemployment benefits.

    • Martin says:

      Unfortunately, personal reasons such as health issues are generally not considered.

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

  15. Eric says:

    I was living and working in Arkansas for 3 and half years. My wife just arrived to the US a few months ago. She is pregnant and having a difficult pregnancy. Since she doesn’t speak much English yet, and she has no family in Arkansas, we realized we should move to Pennsylvania to be near her mother and sister. Is leaving my job for my wife and our unborn child make me ineligible for Unemployment in Arkansas?

    • Martin says:

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

  16. Terri says:

    My job has ended and they do not have anything else open for me. I have been offered a severance package. Would I be able to take it and go to school and draw unemployment?

    • Martin says:

      You can draw the Severance package and collect unemployment compensation after the expiry of the payout.

      However, if you go to school full time, it can be an issue since benefits are only paid to those who’re able and available for work. Please call the Unemployment Office in your state for further details.

  17. Paul says:

    I was laid off in 2015 and my last day of pay was mid July 2015. I was in Bentonville and subsequently moved to a new state in search of employment. I’ve had some independent contractor work on and off until last month when it ended. I am now in another state and looking to see if I am eligible for unemployment in Arkansas since I lived there 4 of the last 5 years and that was the highest income levels I had.

    • Martin says:

      To qualify for Unemployment Insurance, you’re required to have at least 4-5 calendar quarters of continuous employment. Contracted employees are generally not eligible.

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

  18. Traci says:

    I quit my job today, It’s a messy situation. My store manager and department manager pulled me into the office on 5/12 to discuss a few things w/me. They “discussed” my customer service skills which I admit is not my strong point. I accept fault for that. Then they argued w/me about how I’m communicating w/other employees in our department. They told me that my tone was condescending and rude and disrespectful. Basically, everything I’ve ever said both verbal and written was kept and used against me. They misconstrued all my words and all my intentions. As a result of this “discussion”, I was written up for the first time in my working career. Anyways, I decided that I didn’t want to be in this company anymore because I felt like my work privacy was violated and I felt like my two managers were trying to get rid of me. I put in my two week notice yesterday, 5/17, and my boss accepted it but then told me minutes later that my last day would be Saturday 5/21 which is 10 days less than my notice. Anyways, I went to work today and I ended up walking out because I felt like my boss and manager were mistreating me. My question is, would I be eligible for file for unemployment since I walked out before my two weeks were up? My boss even changed my notice and my department manager forced me to walk out.

    • Martin says:

      Well, you must have not resigned in the first place since Unemployment Insurance benefits are only provided to those who lose their jobs due to involuntary reasons.

      Please check further with the labor authorities in your state.

  19. Mary says:

    I decided that I was going to quit by job after years of service. The main VP called and ask me to sit down and speak to my boss. He wanted to “work” things out.
    I went in and told him a number of things that had been going on. By the end of the meeting, I assumed we had worked them out. After a solid 2 weeks of no one speaking to me it came out as to why… The Boss told the person that I had made a complaint about. Now, I feel hopeless. He confronted me and it is worse then ever. If I left due to the reasons listed above would I be able to receive benefits?

    • Martin says:

      Well, if you quit voluntarily, you will not qualify.

      However, if you’re able to provide the hostility, please speak the Unemployment Office for further advise.

  20. John says:

    A couple of weeks ago I was injured out of work and now I’m left with having to get major surgery on my right knee. Does this qualify me for unemployment since it will be 3-4 months before I can return to work?

    • Martin says:

      You will not qualify for Unemployment Insurance since it is only offered to those who’re able and available to work.

      Please explore the options under Workers Comp scheme as the injury is work related.

  21. Heath Breaux says:

    If I never collected unemployment in my life and I was fired from a job because it was decided that my performance didn’t make the cut, would I be able to draw unemployment benefits until I landed another job?

    • Martin says:

      Reasons for leaving such as performance is generally not considered.

      Please inquire further with the Unemployment Office in your state.

  22. Rhonda says:

    If I have to Resign from my Position in California due to moving back to Arkansas. I have to move due to my spouse getting out of the military and leaving duty station. Can I file for Unemployment? if so can I do it in Arkansas or do I have to do that in California

    • Martin says:

      Spouses of military men can claim to a certain extent if they’re moving.

      You must ideally be filing from the state where you last worked.

  23. Raja says:

    If I am attending college full time and I cannot find a job that provides the hours I need that are able to adapt to my college hours. Can I draw a unemployment check while I’m in college?

    • Martin says:

      You will not be eligible since Unemployment Insurance is only provided to those who’re available to work full time.

      Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state.

  24. Monica says:

    If an employee is seasonal help and is laid off at end of season, could they draw undemployment?

    • Martin says:

      Seasonal workers are generally not eligible.

      Please call the claims center/customer service of the labor dept. in your state for further information.

  25. Jennifer Auckland says:

    Do I qualify for unemployment benefits if a accept a voluntary separation option offered by my employer. I don’t asked for it, was offered to me. If I accepted the option I had been asked to submit a letter of resignation and release. Please advise. Thanks

    • Martin says:

      Depends on how it is considered. If it was a “Lay Off” and involuntary, you can make a claim for UI.

      Please call the claims center/customer service of the labor dept. in your state for further information.

  26. caleb harris says:

    If I get a full time job do I lose all of my unemployment income?

    • Martin says:

      You will not be able to apply in the future if there are weeks remaining and you’re drawing income from a full time job.

  27. Tah says:

    Is their a requirement of how many weeks you have to work at a job to be able to file unemployment after being let go?

    • Jeff says:

      You must have had employment for at least an year as they consider 4 or the last 5 calendar quarters to ascertain eligibility.

  28. Jerry Crawford says:

    Why does the state refuse to host or train their personal to be adequately informed about employers rights and accepted practices for the denial of employees who refuse to work, but believe that unemployment is a way of life? This is very discouraging for the employer.

  29. Sheryl Munson says:

    Around February 2014 I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism; I thought I only had asthma & low blood sugar. My supervisor, the boss’ son, put me on 2 months probation since I was underperforming at my job & missing work? I am truly exhausted & am seeing doctors to get my health back. I have been with this company or more than 10 years.

    With my doctors’ notes, will I be eligible for unemployment benefits?

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