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The original item was published from 4/24/2020 2:28:00 PM to 7/23/2020 4:25:55 PM.

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Posted on: March 3, 2020

[ARCHIVED] ATTENTION: Workers affected by COVID-19

COVID-19 Arkansas Department of Workforce West Memphis

The Arkansas Department of Commerce has been directed to expedite unemployment benefits to assist Arkansans whose employment status may be impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. The department will waive the one-week waiting period and the 30-day work search requirement and will now offer unemployment insurance to filled online or by phone at 870-400-2269.

Unemployment Information    

How to apply for Unemployment Compensation

The Arkansas Division of Workforce Services has a hotline available for filing unemployment and other services. It is available Sunday-Saturday, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call 1-844-908-2178. You can also file claims online at While the West Memphis Workforce Center is open, in person visits are being discouraged in order to help with limiting the spread of COVID-19.

UPDATE: 4/23/20

Arkansas Division of Workforce Services announces they will begin application intake for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance sometime next week

During a Statewide COVID-19 town hall last night, Division of Workforce Services Director Dr. Charisse Childers stated that application intake for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (a program created through the CARES Act which enables residents who traditionally can not access unemployment benefits such as self-employed persons, independent contractor, and gig-economy workers to receive unemployment benefits). 

Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston noted that qualifying applicants will also receive retroactive compensation to the time when their employment became impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Preston also noted it will be important for applicants to provide documentation of when their employment was impacted when applying.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Notification Sign Up

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Information Signup

The Arkansas Division of Workforce Services is currently in the process of building a new system to accept Pandemic Unemployment Assistance applications. To receive information from the State on the status of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, click here to sign up for notifications

What is Pandemic Unemployment Assistance? This new program stems from the CARES Act and provides unemployment payments to individuals who are not able to work due to COVID-19, who are not traditionally eligible for unemployment insurance. Examples of individuals who would now qualify for unemployment benefits include self-employed individuals, gig-economy workers and independent contractors.

Arkansas Division of Workforce Services Press Release over status of Federal Legislation pertaining to Unemployment Benefits

State of Arkansas Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Information Signup

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