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How Do I Collect Unemployment Benefits in Arizona?

Posted on August 17, 2020

The United States is in a major recession due to the COVID-19 crisis, resulting in mass layoffs and record-high unemployment rates. If you recently lost your job, you can supplement your income by applying for unemployment benefits through the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES). However, you will need to meet specific criteria.

Who Is Eligible for Arizona Unemployment Benefits?

The DES oversees unemployment claims across the state of Arizona, determining whether or not applicants qualify for these payments and the amount of compensation they receive. You must meet the following criteria to qualify for unemployment benefits in Arizona.

  • You must be unemployed through no fault of your own.
  • You earned a certain amount in wages for a specified period of time before you lost your job.
  • You are able and available for work, and you are actively seeking employment.

You can file your unemployment claim online on the DES website, or over the phone at 1-899-600-2722.

Unemployed Through No Fault of Your Own in Arizona

You are unemployed due to no fault of your own if you were laid off, lost your job after your company had to downsize due to economic reasons, or lost your job after a reduction-in-workforce. You may also qualify for unemployment if you had a compelling reason to leave your job, or if you quit after your employer relocated to an unreasonable location.

If your former employer fired you because you weren’t a good fit or lacked the right skills for the job, you may also collect unemployment benefits. You cannot receive unemployment if your employer fired you due to misconduct, or if you quit your job voluntarily and without good cause.

If you cannot work due to COVID-19, Arizona will temporarily allow you to collect unemployment benefits. You may be eligible if you are under quarantine and cannot work from home or take paid leave, or if you are part of a high-risk population and left work due to concerns over the virus. The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act also expanded unemployment benefits to independent contractors, gig workers, and self-employed individuals who cannot work due to COVID-19.

Arizona’s Minimum Earnings Requirement

When evaluating your claim, Arizona will look at your earnings during a one-year base period, or the first four of the five complete calendar quarters prior to your claim. While the CARES Act has temporarily suspended these rules, you will normally need to meet certain minimum earnings requirements to receive unemployment benefits.

You must have earned at least 390 times the Arizona minimum wage in your highest-earning quarter. If you do not meet the first criteria, you must earn at least $7,000 over two combined quarters, with at least $5,987.50 in one quarter.

Who Is Available and Actively Searching for Work?

To continue collecting unemployment payments, Arizona requires you to be able and available for work, and actively search for a job. If you receive a suitable job offer, the state requires you to accept it. A suitable job depends on your previous employment, pay, and the skills and working conditions involved with the new position.

Under normal circumstances, you will need to submit a weekly unemployment claim with a record of your job search to meet this requirement. Currently, Arizona has suspended this requirement due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You will still need to file a weekly claim, but you do not have to actively seek a new job during the crisis.

If you need help filing your unemployment claim, speak to an Arizona employment attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer can evaluate your eligibility under the new rules, and help appeal your claim if the DES denies your benefits.