Arkansas Unemployment Extension
Regular unemployment benefits in Arkansas last 16 weeks. That number drops to 12 weeks on Jan. 1, 2024, after the AR state government passed a new law in March 2023.
What happens when your benefits expire? Depending on your situation, you may be eligible for a benefits extension.
Arkansas Extended Benefits
The Arkansas Extended Benefits Program provides 13 extra weeks of unemployment benefits during times of high unemployment. Currently, Extended Benefits are not available in Arkansas. But if the unemployment rate reaches 5%, it is likely the EB program will be activated.
Arkansas Disaster Unemployment
Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) offers temporary support to workers who are unable to work due to a regional disaster. It is only available to those who don’t qualify for regular UI benefits. The loss of your job must be caused by the disaster itself.
You should apply for Arkansas unemployment first. ADWS will check if you’re eligible for regular UI benefits before you can receive DUA. If you qualify for regular Arkansas UI benefits, you’ll receive that UI benefit instead.
Disaster Unemployment Assistance is a joint effort between the United States DOL and FEMA from the Department of Homeland Security. ADWS manages DUA on behalf of the federal government whenever an official disaster is declared.
For example, DUA was activated in Little Rock, AR after a devastating tornado created a disaster on March 31, 2023. DUA benefits were authorized on April 4, 2023, with a deadline to file a DUA claim by May 4, 2023.
Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA)
Trade Adjustment Assistance provides several benefits to workers who have lost their jobs due to foreign trade production outside the United States. One such benefit is called Trade Readjustment Allowances, which can provide weekly payments after you have expired your regular Arkansas unemployment benefits.
Trade Readjustment Allowances
Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA) come in the form of weekly payments after you’ve used up your regular unemployment compensation, including any state and federal extensions.
There are three types of TRA you could receive: basic, additional, and remedial or completion.
Basic TRA is typically given for a total of 27 weeks, as you’re allowed to get 52 weeks minus the maximum amount of regular unemployment insurance on your main claim. You can receive basic TRA during a 104-week eligibility period after using up your regular unemployment insurance benefits, including extended benefits.
Additional TRA offers you extra weeks of payments to finish approved Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) training. The number of additional TRA weeks you can get depends on the amendments made in 2002, 2009, 2011, and 2015.
Remedial TRA provides you with up to 26 more weeks of income support if you need to take remedial education as part of your TAA-approved training program.
If you’re qualified, your weekly TRA amount will generally be the same as the regular unemployment insurance benefit you received. If you’re not sure what that is, you can use the Arkansas unemployment calculator to estimate your weekly benefit amount. Any earnings or other income you get will reduce your TRA benefits in the same way as it did on your regular UI claim. If you feel you were incorrectly denied benefits, you can file an appeal.
Arkansas unemployment benefit extensions during the COVID pandemic
During the COVID pandemic, the United States experienced a significant surge in unemployment as businesses and industries were forced to shut down or reduce operations to mitigate the spread of the virus.
The state of Arkansas, like others, saw a sharp increase in unemployment claims, and the need for additional support for its residents. The U.S. government introduced several programs and initiatives to address the economic impact of the pandemic, one of which was the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law in March 2020.
The CARES Act provided a range of benefits, including unemployment benefit extensions for individuals who had exhausted their traditional state unemployment insurance UI benefits. Although these benefits have since expired in September 2021, they played a crucial role in supporting the financial needs of thousands of Arkansas residents during the peak of the pandemic.
Three key unemployment programs were introduced under the CARES Act: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC). These programs offered additional benefits and extensions to Arkansas residents affected by the pandemic.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) was designed for individuals who were not eligible for regular unemployment insurance, such as self-employed workers, independent contractors, and gig workers. The program provided extended benefits to qualifying individuals who had lost their jobs or experienced a reduction in work due to the pandemic. It was an essential lifeline for many Arkansans who would not have qualified for traditional unemployment benefits.
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) provided an extension of 53 weeks for individuals who had exhausted their regular state unemployment benefits.
This program helped bridge the gap for those who were still unable to find employment after their standard UI benefits had run out. In Arkansas, the regular unemployment benefits lasted for 16 weeks, but the PEUC extended this time frame, offering financial support to those who needed it most.
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) was another significant component of the CARES Act, providing an additional $600 per week in unemployment benefits for all eligible claimants. This extra financial support was crucial in helping unemployed individuals meet their basic needs, such as paying rent, utilities, and groceries during the pandemic’s height.
The FPUC benefit was later reduced to $300 per week under the Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act of 2020, which extended the program until its expiration in September 2021.
PUA, PEUC, and FPUC programs all expired in 2021 and are no longer available.