Arkansas Unemployment Eligibility

Updated : June 18th, 2019

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. School teacher moving from one school district to another. There will be a one month gap in pay until I receive my 1st check in the new district. Can I receive unemployment for the month in transition.

  2. I have an 11 month old and found out I was pregnant againwhen she was 7 months old. I have been with my company for nearly 8 years, never using excessive PTO. My child had been very sick the last 3 months with flu, rsv (typical winter bugs) so I have had to take unscheduled, but approved PTO as daycare will not take her with fever. I have dr notes for documentation of days out. A month ago I went to an OBGYN appointment to find out I had miscarried in my second trimester and was scheduled for a d&c the next day. I took a total of 3 days (approved bereavement) for the day of the loss, the surgery and a day of recovery. Two weeks later my boss called me into her office to tell me I had used my allotted amount of PTO for the quarter and that I would need to resign or be terminated. I put in my 2 week notice the following day to ensure I got 2 full weeks pay and be eligible for rehire. Would I be eligible for Unemployment benefits with a forced resignation?

    1. Susie,

      I hope the situation gets back to normal soon. We can only imagine your ordeal. With regard to your query, I suggest you call the Unemployment Office and take their opinion in this regard.

  3. I’m hoping you can help me out. The situation I find myself in is not were I ever thought I would be. My husband and I both were working for a company based out of Florida. We were sent to Arkansas around the 1st of November to run a jobsite for them. We used a company truck with GPS and they kept track of our time through a ADP app on our phone. If you know anything about the ADP app you most be within 1 mile of jobsite to be able to clock in. On 2/ 26/19. We were notified we were both fired. They claimed that our ADP and our GPS did not match up. I pleaded with that there had to be some mistake. Our Apartment were we were staying was over 10 miles away. We literally had no phone service there. Couldn’t clock in or out if we wanted to. I pleaded for them to have someone look at the GPS to make sure it was working properly. They couldn’t have cared less. They ended up leaving us stranded in Arkansas. Come to find out the day we were fired an investigator showed up at our jobsite. They did not have a license or permit to be working in Little Rock. They had just received one that day. So for months they did not have it. I believe this is the real reason we were fired. They did not want us talking to the investigator. I look for them to give us a problem when we file for unemployment. How can we prove this or is there nothing to be done. Thanks.

    1. Lori,

      I can understand how much of an ordeal this must have been! Firstly, UI benefits are only extended to claimants who’re on permanent rolls of the company. Contractors do not generally qualify. If your employer paid Unemployment taxes into the system, you might qualify. Please call the Unemployment Office for a detailed discussion.

  4. I have recently been fired due to a procedure that I did and was not aware of it being against company gaming rules. Would I be able to draw UI?

    1. Deborah,

      You might not qualify since UI benefits are only extended to claimants who lose their job due to involuntary reasons.

  5. I have been at my current job for 14 almost 15 months. it is a contractor position and everyone will be laid off 4/1/19. I am also a full time college student. Would i be able to quit this job and file unemployment since i am a full time college student?

    1. Jamie,

      You might not be eligible for two reasons – contract employment and full-time schooling which affects your prospect of seeking full-time employment. Please call the Unemployment Office for clarification.

  6. I was let go from my job. My employer told me that due to the minimum wage increase that my position was no longer needed. Does this count as a lay-off or a discharge?

  7. I quit my job after being hurt (Tip of my finger smashed off). I could not bare going back. I went to my doctor and he gave my 3 weeks due to Anxiety because of the accident, I never went back. Do I qualify for unemployment?

  8. My husband quit his job due to abusive treatment to the point it it made his PTSD condition bad to the point he had to go in-patient and unsafe working environment in this Saw Mill industry can he draw unemployment

    1. Sarah,

      Yes, your husband can claim UI benefits for quitting due to hostile working conditions. Please make sure to keep supporting documents handy in case of a dispute.

    1. You can surely claim under such circumstances. Please make sure to keep supporting documents handy in case of a dispute.

  9. My son recently got laid off but he received a lump sum severance package. Would he be eligible for UI? I’ve read that he would be eligible after the severance pay runs out, but how do you figure that when he used it to pay off some of his bills. Just trying to figure out if it would still be beneficial for him to even apply for UI.

  10. I just lost my job today due because she claimed that I tried to convince a staff from leaving the company, and for gossip and a lot other stuff. She basically went off things staff told her and compounded a case against me. Would I be eligible

    1. Vanesse,

      Unemployment Insurance benefits are only extended to claimants who’re out of job due to involuntary reasons.

  11. I am 26 week pregnant and where I work is hot. I have to leave almost every day because I get to hot. I don’t think I can keep working there. If I quit because of the heat makes me sick and I am afraid that it will hurt my baby. Can I draw unemployment benefits.

    1. Elizabeth,

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

  12. I was terminated from my position for “job abandonment”. But the issue was I was arrested and detained for 3 weeks over a charge that was dropped as soon as I got to see a judge. My employer was aware of the predicament via conversations with my family members. However, when I was released my employer told me because they couldn’t hold my position due to my own legal matters, I was considered a no call/no show and therefor terminated and unable to be rehired. They’ve told me repeatedly there’s nothing they could do because HR had their hands tied. I have been released now for over 2 weeks which makes a total of 5 weeks unemployed.

    1. David,

      This is a sensitive issue. Please call the Unemployment Office to discuss further and take their opinion before applying for benefits.

  13. I found out I was pregnant in Jan. 2018. I told my employers in March 2018. Since then they have consistently been giving me problems. They harass my fiance and fiances boss if I do not answer the phone when they call. They call me numerous times often to come to work and if I do not come in if they want me to they lash out. It seems like they have been trying to come up with ways to either fire me or get me to quit. A few weeks ago one boss told me my schedule changed so I did not show up for the shift the next morning I had a call and a message from my other boss asking why I was a no call no show. Thankfully I still had all the text or I would of lost my job. Ever since I found out I was pregnant they nit pick all the time. They just recently told me that if I can not come in when they call me on my scheduled days off they are going to find someone else. I have had to go to the hospital due to all the stress they put on me and causing high blood pressure. I never had these issues until I found out I was pregnant. They have told people they are going to fire me. They refuse to give me more than 2 days a week of work. I have told them numerous times I need more than that and they will not. They say they only give me 2 days so I can come in if they need me. I was not hired for an as needed position. I have been looking for another job for a while now but I have had no luck. I have worked here 9 months. I do not want to quit, but they keep finding reasons to either try and fire me or make it look like I just did not show up. Would I qualify for any of these reasons? Just until I can find another job.

    1. Ashley,

      Hope things get better for you soon. Please keep supporting documents/facts handy if your employer decides to dispute. Also, speak the Unemployment Office to ascertain eligibility.

  14. My wife is getting transferred to a different city. I have asked my employer to transfer me to that city but they cannot. if i quit due to my wife’s transfer do i qualify for unemployment benefits

    1. Shawn,

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

  15. I have just had another child. I plan on quitting my current job to help with the first few months of childcare. Can I get unemployment for the months that I am not working?

    1. Sarah,

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

  16. As of 01/02/2018 my government contract switched hands… and the pay cut was pretty substantial at almost half what we were making with the previous company…. the title of our position was pretty much demoted… After working for over a month with the new company, along with several others, we are very unhappy and there looks to be no change…. Is there any chance under these circumstances that we would qualify for unemployment?

    1. Rebecca,

      I can understand your situation. However, UI benefits are only extended to those who lose employment due to involuntary reasons. Please call the Unemployment Office.

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

    1. Brandon,

      I am not sure if you qualify for a reduction in per diem as long as you’re receiving the weekly/monthly compensation. Please call the Unemployment Office for further details.

  17. 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.

    1. Amanda,

      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.

  18. 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

  19. 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?

    1. Steve,

      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.

  20. 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 ?

    1. 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.

  21. 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?

    1. Kay,

      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.

  22. 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?

    1. 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.

  23. 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.

    1. 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.

  24. 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?

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

      Please inquire with the Labor authorities in the state.

  25. 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.

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

  26. 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.

    1. 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.

  27. 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?

    1. 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.

  28. 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?

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

  29. 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.

    1. 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.

  30. 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.

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

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

  31. 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?

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

  32. 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?

    1. 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.

  33. 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.

    1. 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.

  34. 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.

    1. 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.

  35. 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?

    1. 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.

  36. 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?

    1. 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.

  37. 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?

    1. Reasons for leaving such as performance is generally not considered.

      Please inquire further with the Unemployment Office in your state.

  38. 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

    1. 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.

  39. 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?

    1. 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.

    1. Seasonal workers are generally not eligible.

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

  40. 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

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

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

  41. 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.

  42. 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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