How to Apply for Unemployment in Arizona
Unemployment can provide some guaranteed income in these uncertain times.
Several Arizonans have already lost their lives to COVID-19 and many businesses are shutting down or cutting back their hours to slow its spread. This puts a strain on Arizona workers trying to support their families. We don't know when things will get back to normal, but until they do, you may be eligible for unemployment to tide you over.
This short guide explains everything you need to know about Arizona's unemployment benefits and what you need to do to qualify.
Do I qualify for unemployment benefits?
Arizona has similar unemployment eligibility requirements to much of the rest of the country, including:
- You must be out of work or have had your hours drastically reduced through no fault of your own.
- You must be able to work and have worked for an employer who paid unemployment tax.
- Your past earnings must meet certain standards.
In normal times, you also need to be actively seeking work. However, Governor Doug Ducey has waived the work-seeking requirement due to public health concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Arizona evaluates your income during a base period. This is the first four of the last five full quarters before you applied for unemployment. So if you apply in March, it will be October 2018 to September 2019 and if you apply in April, it'll be January 2019 to December 2019.
According to the Arizona Department of Economic Security website, in order to qualify, you must meet one of the following requirements:
- You must have earned at least 390 times the Arizona minimum hourly wage ($11 in 2019) in at least one quarter and you must have earned at least half of what you earned in your high quarter in the remaining three quarters combined.
- You must have earned at least $7,000 over two quarters of your base period and you must have earned at least $5,987.50 in one of these quarters.
How do I apply for unemployment benefits?
To apply for Arizona benefits online, you'll need the following information:
- Your Social Security number or Alien Registration Number
- Your Arizona driver's license number or state-issued ID
- Your mailing address
- Your employment history for the past 18 months, including employer names, addresses, phone numbers, and your last day of work
- Bank account information for direct deposit
After you've set up your account, you must log in weekly to request your benefits for that week, even while your claim is being processed. There's usually a one-week waiting period for benefits, but Arizona has waived it due to COVID-19.
How much money will I receive in unemployment benefits?
You can expect to get between $119 and $240 per week from Arizona unemployment benefits. You can calculate your weekly benefit amount by taking your wages from the highest quarter of your base period and multiplying this by 4%. So if you earned $5,000 in your highest quarter, your benefit would be $200 per week.
How long can I collect unemployment benefits?
Usually in Arizona, you can claim up to 26 weeks of benefits, or one-third of your total wages during your base period, whichever is less.
However, during periods of high unemployment, Arizona law enables some individuals to receive an additional 13 weeks of benefits. Given the extraordinary circumstances caused by COVID-19, this may be an option for you. If you exhaust your regular benefit amount, contact the Arizona Department of Economic Security to discuss extended benefits.
In addition, the federal CARES Act can also extend your benefit period by an additional 13 weeks.
Remember, you must stop claiming unemployment benefits if you find new employment.
What if my unemployment claim is denied?
You'll receive a Determination of Deputy form in the mail after you apply that tells you whether you're approved and how much you can expect. If you're denied, you can dispute the decision within 15 days of the mailing date on the form by phone, online, or in writing.
Times are tough but if you've lost your job, you’re not alone. Apply for unemployment if you believe you qualify -- hopefully, it will help you and your family through the next few months.
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