There are two main programs currently running for unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic in Arkansas, both of which are run by the Division of Workforce Services (“DWS”):
Traditional Unemployment (“UI”)
In normal years, there is always access to traditional unemployment (or “UI”). People on UI still get an additional $300 per week and extra weeks that they can claim unemployment benefits during the pandemic, though.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (“PUA”)
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government expanded access to unemployment benefits to new groups of people who are normally not eligible for UI in a program called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (or “PUA”). Although the American Rescue Plan provided federal funding to continue the extension of benefits and the additional $300 per week until September 4, 2021, Arkansas has announced that they will not continue to run these pandemic unemployment programs beyond June 26, 2021. For more information on what that means, see below.
This guide is meant to help you learn how to receive unemployment benefits during this difficult time. This guide is not legal advice.