Many Americans are finding themselves in more than average financial strain these days. With the unprecedented spreading of the COVID-19 virus, thousands of employers have been forced to downsize or even close up shop because of the unexpected loss of business that was brought on by the pandemic. Because of this, American workers in Arizona have been forced to look into unemployment benefits as a way to get by while waiting for the next work opportunity. If you are a resident of Arizona looking for information on how to apply for unemployment benefits, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve listed valuable tips to get you the help you need as soon as possible. Whether you’ve recently been affected with or by the coronavirus outbreak, these are the information you’ll need to get your benefits. However, the benefits are not limited to those affected by the virus. If you’ve experienced work loss for any other reason, you’ll also find information here that can assist you with the unemployment process. Because of the influx of applications due to the massive state-wide work loss in the last few weeks, you might experience longer than average wait times when it comes to the application process itself and receiving your benefits.
State and Federal Aid
The Arizona Department of Economic Security or DES is the state department that handles all unemployment applications. On a normal basis, the DES provides up to $240 per individual for up to 26 weeks as a supplement to income lost without any fault. That amount is given as a weekly stipend as long as the beneficiary continues to search for employment during the time period.
If you suffered a loss of work because of the virus, you should know that Congress passed the CARES Act on March 27, 2020. CARES stand for Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, and it was signed into law to protect American families and workers. The $2 trillion stimulus package offers states including Arizona an expansion on already existing unemployment benefits to further help workers who have lost their jobs during this crisis. It also includes an economic payment directly to all families and individuals that fall under the requirements.
Ways to Apply
To receive unemployment benefits in Arizona during this time, you can apply by one of three ways: by paper, by phone, or through the online application process. As with any other paper processes, the application will take longer if filled out on paper. If you wish to fill out a hard copy, you can visit the employment section through www.azdes.govto print out the proper document, which is UB-105 Arizona Initial Claim for Unemployment Insurance. You can also find the application ready for printing here. Otherwise, you can apply by phone at (877) 600-2722. The phone application system is available Monday through Friday from 7am until 6pm.
While submitting a claim through the mail or phone might be convenient for some, it’s recommended that you fill out an online application so the state can receive it faster. The DES recommends that individuals apply for unemployment as soon as possible—even on the last day of employment. Waiting to apply can prolong the time for you to receive your benefits, or it can also affect your eligibility status.
What You Need to Apply
There are a few things you’ll have to gather before you begin an application whether by mail, by phone, or online.
To confirm your identity, you’ll need the following:
- Arizona Driver’s License or Arizona State ID
- Current mailing address and county of residence
- Social Security Number or Alien Registration Number
You’ll also need to list your employment history for the last 18 months. You’ll need to have your previous employer’s name and contact information including their current mailing address and phone number. If you’ve had more than one employer within that time frame, you’ll need to list any other employers as well. Make sure that you have the correct date of the last day you worked, as this will be require on your application. You’ll also need to have any financial information including but not limited to the amount of your salary and wages; unused sick, holiday, and vacation pay; and payments for severance, if any. Make sure to mark the dates for those if applicable.
The following are other information that may or may not be applicable to you:
- Union hall information such as name and number, if applicable
- DD Form 214 Copy #4, if released from the military in the last 18 months
- SF 8 or SF 50, if employed in the Federal Civilian service in the last 18 months
- Monthly pension payment amounts and start date (excluding Social Security)
Claimants who are seeking or are receiving unemployment benefits are required to file their claims weekly. This applies to individuals that have an application still pending in the system. The easiest way to do this is through the online system, which is available from midnight every Sunday until 6pm every Friday.
After You Apply
Upon submitting your completed application, you will also be required by the state of Arizona to actively search for employment. Your application for unemployment benefits automatically registers you for the Arizona Job Connection, the state’s largest employment database. Through this website, you can easily create an updated resume and look for jobs. You can easily get matched with an employer hiring for your qualifications.
DES is doing its best to accommodate to individuals during these difficult times. The department is currently working with their federal partners in order to review and properly enact the CARES Act, which is expected to impact the eligibility requirements and benefit amounts for claimants. As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to evolve, make sure to keep checking the DES website for updated information.