White County, AR Unemployment Law

Answers to your questions about Unemployment Law in White County, AR: Eligibility for Arkansas unemployment, how to apply for benefits in Arkansas, how much you can expect to receive each week, what requirements you'll need to meet to keep getting benefits, and how to file an appeal if your application to the Arkansas Appeal Tribunal for benefits is denied.
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White County Unemployment Offices

Learn about the self-help resources available to you at the White County Job Centers.

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Coronavirus Unemployment Benefits No Longer Available

During the COVID-19 pandemic, job losses skyrocketed, and the unemployment rate reached double digits. Congress responded by creating several temporary unemployment benefit programs. Many employees were eligible for unemployment because they lost their jobs due to COVID-19 and the steps state and local governments took to contain it. Millions more received temporary federal benefits under the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program because they were still unemployed when their state benefits ran out. And, many gig workers, contractors, and self-employed people were temporarily eligible for  unemployment benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. 

Expired Federal Pandemic Unemployment Programs 

However, these federal programs ended on September 6, 2021. In some states, they ended even earlier: About half the states decided to stop participating in these programs before they expired.

Since September 6, 2021, these benefits have no longer been available. That means:

  • Benefits are no longer available to the millions of gig workers, contractors, and freelancers who were receiving unemployment through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. 
  • Benefits are no longer available through the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which offered additional benefits to those who were still unemployed when they used up their state benefits. 
  • Benefits have been reduced for those who were receiving Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, a program that offered $300 extra per week to those collecting unemployment. 

All told, experts estimate that more than seven million people lost their benefits on Labor Day, 2021. More than two million more saw their benefits cut by $300 per week. 

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How Do I Apply for Unemployment Benefits in Arkansas?

In response to the coronavirus outbreak, some states are imposing restrictions on people gathering in public locations. This may affect your ability to access physical offices of the the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services in person. Check Arkansas's unemployment insurance agency website for more information. And, read on to find out how you can file for unemployment insurance benefits in Arkansas online or by phone.

If You Are Still Employed: You may be eligible for emergency paid sick leave or paid family leave under a new federal law, the Families First Coronavirus Act. Some states also provide paid time off that may be available to you. See Am I Entitled to Paid Sick Leave, Family Leave, or Vacation Time in Arkansas to learn more about these programs. 

Arkansas's unemployment insurance agency website gives you the information you need to apply for unemployment insurance in Arkansas. The Arkansas Division of Workforce Services’s website tells you:

  • What information you’ll need on hand to apply for unemployment insurance benefits
  • How to apply online for unemployment insurance benefits
  • Where to find a local office of the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services if you don’t want to file online 
  • How to calculate the amount of unemployment insurance benefits you can receive, and
  • What to do to keep receiving unemployment insurance benefits in Arkansas.

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Am I Eligible for Unemployment Benefits in Arkansas?

You qualify for unemployment benefits in Arkansas if you meet two basic requirements:

  • you must have earned at least a minimum amount (and/or worked a certain amount of time) before you lost your job, and
  • you must be out of work through no fault of your own.

If you meet these two qualifications when you apply, you will likely be eligible to receive unemployment benefits. (To keep receiving benefits after you are found eligible, you will also have to meet your state’s job search requirements; to learn more, see What Do I Have to Do to Keep Receiving Unemployment Benefits in Arkansas?)

Gig workers, freelancers, and contractors are no longer eligible for benefits. In response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, Congress greatly expanded eligibility for unemployment. Among other things, these programs provided benefits to gig workers and other contract workers who are not eligible for traditional unemployment benefits. However, these programs expired in every state on September 6, 2021; about half the states cut off these benefits even earlier. 

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Three Things You Need to Know About Unemployment Benefits in Arkansas

This site provides clear, accurate information on collecting unemployment benefits in Arkansas, including:

Here are three things to keep in mind as you get started:

1. You may be eligible for benefits even if you quit, you were fired for cause, or you are still working part-time.

Some people mistakenly believe that unemployment is available only to employees who are laid off. However, you don't have to lose your job in a layoff to qualify for benefits. The key question is whether you are out of work without fault on your part. So, if you were forced to quit your job in lieu of being fired, or you were fired because you don't have the necessary skills for your job, you could still be eligible for benefits. 

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COVID-19 and Unemployment Benefits in Arkansas FAQ

1. Are coronavirus unemployment benefits still available?

2. How do I apply for unemployment if I am out of work due to COVID-19?

3. Can self-employed people and gig workers who have lost work due to COVID-19 collect unemployment?

4. How much will I get in unemployment benefits if I am unemployed due to COVID-19?

5. How long will my benefits last if I am unemployed because of COVID-19?

6. Can I collect unemployment if I was furloughed due to COVID-19?

7. Where can I find the latest information on how Arkansas is dealing with unemployment claims relating to coronavirus?

1. Are coronavirus unemployment benefits still available?

As of September 6, 2021, the answer is no. The special pandemic programs Congress created to help those who have lost work due to COVID-19 (and the steps state and local governments have taken to stop the spread of the coronavirus) have now expired. These programs included:

    • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which made benefits available to those who wouldn't qualify for traditional unemployment benefits, including the self-employed, gig workers, those who have already used up their state benefits, and those who don't meet the work history eligibility requirement in their state. 
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How Much Will I Collect in Unemployment Benefits in Arkansas?

In Arkansas, you can earn up to $451 per week in unemployment benefits under state law. 

Although additional money ($300 extra per week) was available under the temporary Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, that program expired on September 6, 2021 (or earlier, in states that cut off these benefits before the program ended). For weeks of unemployment starting on September 6, you will not receive these additional benefits. 

Every state has its own rules for calculating unemployment benefits. Typically, the amount you receive each week is based on your earnings when you were employed. After all, unemployment benefits are intended to replace some of the income you lost along with your job, and tide you over until you find new work.

Calculating Your Benefit Amount

Your weekly unemployment benefit amount depends on your earnings during the base period.

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How Long Will My Unemployment Benefits Last in Arkansas?

In Arkansas, you can receive unemployment benefits for a maximum of 16 weeks

A temporary federal program (the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program) allowed claimants to keep collecting benefits after their state benefits ran out. However, that program expired on September 6, 2021 (or earlier, in states that decided to cut these benefits off before the program ended). Benefits will no longer be available under this program for weeks of unemployment starting on September 6.

In times of high unemployment, additional weeks of benefits may be available under a different federal program, the Extended Benefits program (see below).

Each state sets its own rules for how long unemployment benefits last. Until quite recently, virtually all states offered a maximum of 26 weeks of benefits. In the last five or six years, however, some states have changed their rules on duration of benefits (in most cases, to offer benefits for a shorter period of time).

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Can I Collect Unemployment Benefits If I Was Wrongfully Terminated?

In order to collect unemployment, you must meet two basic requirements. First, you must have earned at least a minimum amount, set by state law, in the time before you lost your job. Second, you must be out of work through no fault of your own. For more information about these requirements, see Who is Eligible for Unemployment Benefits in Arkansas?

If you lose your job in a layoff, reduction-in-force (RIF), or downsizing, you will be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. But, these are not the only ways that employees lose their jobs. Your eligibility for benefits depends upon the reason you become unemployed. 

If You Were Fired for Misconduct

Generally-speaking, if you are terminated, you can collect unemployment insurance benefits in Arkansas. But, there is an exception to that general rule in Arkansas:

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Do I Need a Lawyer to Get Unemployment Benefits in Arkansas?

Having your own lawyer to represent you in the unemployment insurance benefits process in Arkansas will level the playing field for you—because your ex-employer will be represented. Your ex-employer is almost certainly going to have a lawyer or two offering guidance through the Arkansas unemployment process. This legal advice can give your ex-employer an edge over you in the process, especially if they intend to challenge your claim for benefits. Your own lawyer can:

  • Help you figure out if you are eligible for unemployment insurance benefits in Arkansas
  • Tell you if your employer’s stated reason for terminating you is valid and will bar benefits
  • Guide you through Arkansas’s unemployment insurance benefits claim process
  • Advise you on how to keep receiving unemployment insurance benefits, and
  • Assist you if you need to appeal a denial of unemployment insurance benefits by the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services

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Paying an Unemployment Lawyer in Arkansas

If you may be (or already have been) denied unemployment benefits in Arkansas, you may be wondering whether you need a lawyer -- and whether you can afford to hire a lawyer to help with your unemployment case. (If you're wondering what a lawyer can do for you, check out Five Ways an Unemployment Lawyer Can Help You.) It all depends on your financial situation and how (and how much) the attorney charges. In some situations, an unemployment attorney may be willing to offer you a contingency fee arrangement. This means the lawyer gets paid only if you win, out of the money you receive as a settlement or award. 

Below, we explain some typical attorney fee arrangements in unemployment cases. 

Initial Consultation

Your first step in choosing an attorney – and deciding whether it makes sense to fight your employer in an unemployment claim, appeal, or lawsuit – is an initial consultation. The initial consultation provides you and the attorney an opportunity to decide whether and how you will work together. 

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Five Ways an Unemployment Lawyer Can Help You in Arkansas

If you have a straightforward unemployment claim, you will likely be able to file for unemployment benefits on your own, without any help from a lawyer. Your claim is relatively simple if you can easily meet the Arkansas earnings requirements to qualify for benefits, and you and your employer agree that you lost your job through no fault of your own (for example, because you were laid off or had to quit when your military spouse was transferred to another state).

But if your case is more complicated, it might make sense to consult with or hire an unemployment lawyer to represent you. An unemployment lawyer can help you if you are facing any of the situations described below.

1. Your Employer Claims You Were Fired for Misconduct

You may not be eligible for benefits if you were fired for misconduct connected to your job.

You will be eligible for benefits if you were fired for poor performance (unless it is intentional) or for deficiencies in meeting production standards or accomplishing your job duties. However, you won't be eligible if you fail a drug test, act in willful disregard of your employer's interests, or willfully violate your employer's rules regarding safety, insubordination, harassment, and other behavioral policies. You may also be disqualified from receiving benefits if you violate an attendance policy following progressive warnings. 

 

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