New measures taken to slow the spread of the coronavirus have put some Arizonans out of work, and temporarily closed the doors of many businesses. I am working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure that Arizonans out of work can access the resources available to them.
- The CARES Act waives the waiting time for approval, extends coverage for an additional 13 weeks, so Arizonans would be eligible for 39 total weeks.
- A new temporary unemployment insurance program will be available for gig workers, the self-employed, and independent contractors who normally do not qualify for unemployment benefits. (SEE BELOW)
- For those receiving unemployment insurance between now and July 31, 2020 – an extra $600 in unemployment insurance benefits will be automatically available. An Arizonan who qualifies for the maximum unemployment insurance benefit of $240 would be able to receive an unemployment insurance benefit of $840/week ($240 + $600) until July 31, 2020.
- This $600 benefit will be taxable (like all unemployment benefits), but it will be disregarded in determining Medicaid or CHIP eligibility.
A full explanation of whether or not an individual may be eligible for unemployment insurance in Arizona can be found HERE.
DES has implemented numerous fraud indicators to detect and prevent criminal behavior within the unemployment insurance systems. The most recent action taken to close suspicious accounts and recover funds only affected individuals with claims filed out of state, the majority of which are believed to be fraudulent claims.
If there were out of state claimants affected by the closure of their accounts who believe they are eligible for benefits, impacted cardholders should contact DES directly at AZUIFraud@azdes.gov. Once validated as not fraudulent, DES will request a new card to be mailed and the funds reloaded. The old card has been closed and will not be reactivated.
If a claimant is disqualified/denied benefits, they have the right to file an appeal. They must file their appeal within an established time frame. Instructions can be found within the determination notice, once issued by the Department. These notices began to be sent starting the week of 7/13/2020.
The high volume of applications may create delays DES application processing. If you believe you are eligible for the Arizona's traditional UI program, you must file weekly claims to continue to receive benefits (even if your initial claim is still pending, you must file a weekly claim to receive benefits for that week). You can file weekly claims HERE. If you are later found on appeal to be eligible, you will only be paid for the retroactive weeks in which you submitted weekly claims.
The online Weekly Claims System is available from 12:01 a.m. Sunday to 6 p.m. Friday.
A FAQ for Weekly Unemployment Insurance Claims is available HERE.
An FAQ document on new unemployment provisions within the CARES Act can be found, HERE.
Governor Ducey's Executive Order to ensure that individuals whose employment is affected by COVID-19 have access to unemployment, HERE.
For a video on how to apply, click HERE or on the preview below.
PANDEMIC UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE (PUA):
**UPDATE** The Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) announced that it will be implementing a Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program system on May 12 to get assistance to Arizonans faster. Applications will be processed beginning the week of May 12 and payments will begin for eligible claimants that same week.
** Increased AZDES Hours: Monday - Friday: 7-6, Saturday: Closed, Sunday: 9:30-5 **
Individuals eligible for PUA include those that:
have exhausted all rights to such benefits,
are seeking part-time employment,
lack sufficient work history, or
otherwise do not qualify for regular unemployment compensation or extended benefits under state or Federal law.
If you have not already submitted an unemployment application, you can submit HERE. It is important to apply even if you are ineligible for regular unemployment as you may be eligible for benefits under the CARES Act.
If you already applied for Unemployment Insurance benefits and you think you may be eligible for PUA, AZDES will contact you when further action is needed. AZDES recommends you keep a record of your earnings each week (this information will be required to determine your eligibility when PUA is implemented). Those who are eventually approved under the new PUA program will also be eligible for an additional $600 a week through July 2020 and benefits for up to 39 weeks.
More information about PUA can be found on the DES Pandemic Unemployment Assistance webpage, HERE.
PANDEMIC EMERGENCY UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION (PEUC):
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) provides 13 weeks of additional unemployment benefits to qualified individuals whose regular unemployment insurance (UI) benefits were exhausted on or after July 6, 2019. PEUC benefits will be available for weeks of unemployment starting with the benefit week ending April 4, 2020. If you exhausted your regular UI claim and remain unemployed, you are encouraged to apply for PEUC beginning Sunday, June 7, 2020. The Department will notify you when you are able to file your retroactive and ongoing weekly claims for PEUC benefits.
To be eligible for a week of PEUC, in addition to meeting the applicable Arizona state law provisions, you must:
- have exhausted all rights to regular compensation under the applicable state or Federal law with respect to the applicable benefit year;
- have no rights to regular compensation with respect to a week under such law or any other state or Federal UC law;
- certify that you are not receiving compensation with respect to such week under the UC law of Canada; and
- be able to work, available for work, and actively seeking work (the actively seeking work requirement has been temporarily suspended in Arizona)
You must wait for your regular unemployment benefits to expire before applying for PEUC.
If your regular UI benefits have expired and you wish to apply for PEUC, you can do so at www.azui.com. Login using the same credentials you used to file your regular UI claim, then proceed to the initial UI claim section to file your claim. If you are unable to file online, call the UI Call Center toll free at 1-877-600-2722 or TDD: 7-1-1. The Department will notify you when you are able to file your retroactive and ongoing weekly claims for PEUC benefits.
FAQs regarding PEUC are available HERE.
For a list of Arizona employers with immediate openings, click HERE.