April 3, 2020 Update
During Governor Hutchinson’s Press Conference on April 3, 2020, the Governor discussed progress being made at the State level to process the high volumes of unemployment claims. You can watch the press conference by clicking here.
U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issues new guidelines regarding Unemployment Insurance
The Department of Labor issued new guidance to States on how to manage new unemployment benefits in the CARES Act.
Arkansas Division of Workforce Services issues new Press Release concerning Federal Legislation
The Arkansas Division of Workforce Service published an additional press release on April 3, 2020 "CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) Information- FEDERAL LEGISLATION". The press release explains that the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services is waiting for additional guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor before than can begin implementation of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program, the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Program, and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation.
April 1, 2020 Update
During Governor Hutchinson’s Press Conference on April 1, 2020 Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston announced they are waiting for additional guidance from the Department of Labor on how to process Pandemic Unemployment Assistance applications. Individuals who are trying to access the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program of the CARES Act were advised not to apply at this time. The Department of Commerce stated they will issue a press release when the program is open.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program
The CARES Act also creates a new program called the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program through December 31, 2020. This new program provides unemployment payments to individuals who are not able to work due to COVID-19, who are not traditionally eligible for unemployment insurance. Examples of individuals who would now qualify for unemployment benefits include self-employed individuals, gig-economy workers and independent contractors. Applying for this program will be the same as applying for unemployment through the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services (information below).
Both the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program and the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation programs were discussed during Governor Asa Hutchinson’s press conference on March 28, 2020. To watch the press conference click here.
March 28, 2020 Update
On March 27, 2020 H.R. 748 CARES Act (also known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) became law. The CARES Act has multiple impacts pertaining to unemployment benefits:
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation
The Federal Government will provide a temporary Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) through July 31, 2020 of $600 per week for any worker eligible for state or federal unemployment compensation benefits. This FPUC payment will be paid in addition to regular state or federal unemployment compensation. This program includes tipped workers. More information is coming soon.
Frequently asked questions:
- I’ve had trouble applying for unemployment insurance at the State. Will I receive back payment?
- Yes. The State acknowledged today that individuals applying for unemployment compensation will receive back payment to their date of termination with their previous employer.
March 22, 2020 Update
Are you a resident who has been impacted by a layoff in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic? Are you a business owner looking for information pertaining to unemployment benefits? Please see the information below:
The Arkansas Division of Workforce Services has a hotline available for filing unemployment and other services. It will be available beginning Monday, March 23, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Call 1-844-908-2178. Also beginning Monday, you will be able to file claims online at https://www.ezarc.adws.arkansas.gov/. Please do not go to the unemployment office in person – call or go online.
The State has opened a new unemployment hotline, if you have had difficulties applying for unemployment online please call the new hotline at: 844.908.2178.
How to apply for unemployment benefits:
Online at: dws.arkansas.gov/unemployment/ezarc/
By Phone: 844.908.2178
Below you will find information from the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services on common questions pertaining to unemployment:
Assistance for workers impacted by layoffs or business closures:
Information for Employers
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Benefits:
Arkansas is suspending work requirements for SNAP benefits through the end of April 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns.