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Arizona Unemployment Insurance Q & A

10 Things to Know About Arizona's Unemployment Insurance and Benefits


Laura Anne Fransen fills out an application during the Arizona Workforce Connection Career Expo at the Arizona State Fair Grounds on March 31, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona.
Joshua Lott/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Updated May 16, 2014

If you are recently unemployed, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits from the State of Arizona. Your eligibility for Arizona unemployment benefits is based upon wages earned in the Arizona base period from employers who were required to pay Arizona unemployment insurance tax on your wages. Federal and military employees are covered differently.

Here are some of the most common questions about the Arizona Unemployment Insurance program. I will provide general answers, but remember, everyone's situation is a little different.

Want to skip the details? Go right to the online Arizona unemployment insurance application. Want the details? Read on!

  1. Can I receive Arizona unemployment benefits if I quit my job?
    Generally, no, unless you can show you had a very good reason for quitting. Being unappreciated or not liking the boss is not a good enough reason.

  2. So who can receive unemployment in Arizona?
    People who are unemployed through no fault of their own. You must be willing and able to work, and actively looking for work. You must file reports that show you are actively looking for work on a regular basis.

  3. What if I came from another state?
    You are only eligible to receive unemployment benefits from the State of Arizona for wages earned in Arizona from employers who paid Unemployment Tax to the State of Arizona.

  4. How much are the unemployment payments in Arizona?
    The maximum is $240 per week (2013).

  5. How is it calculated?
    Well, it's a little complicated. First you have to know what your "base period" is. For most people, the base period will be the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters prior to the date you first applied for unemployment insurance. Huh? Let me explain.

    Let's say you file for unemployment in July. The last five completed calendar quarters before July begins on April 1 of the previous year. How did I get that? Well, the first complete calendar quarter before any day in July is the quarter beginning April 1 and ending June 30. That's the fifth quarter. A year before that quarter, April 1 through June 30th, of the previous year, makes it five complete quarters prior to your filing date. Your benefit will be based on your income during your base period, which, in this example, is the year beginning that previous April 1 and ending on the March 31st. Here is a chart, for people who want a more visual explanation.

    To qualify for benefits, you must have been paid wages by an insured employer and meet one of the following requirements:

    a. you must have earned at least 390 times the Arizona minimum wage in your highest earning quarter and the total of the other three quarters must equal at least one half of the amount in your high quarter. Example: if you made $5000 in your highest quarter you need to have earned a total of $2500 within the remaining three quarters combined.
    b. You must have earned at least $7,000 in total wages in at least two quarters of the base period, with wages in one quarter equal to $5,987.50 or more (2013).

    Once you have determined your earnings for your base period, you can find out how much unemployment you will receive by checking this chart.

  6. How long will the payments last?
    You may receive unemployment payments for a maximum of 26 weeks. The Wage Statement that you receive after applying for unemployment will show the total wages reported for you during the base period and your total benefits that you are eligible to receive during the year following your application, assuming you meet all the eligibility requirements.

  7. What if I receive some income while I am unemployed?
    The amount you earn will be deducted from your unemployment payments. If you are receiving Social Security payments, a pension, annuity, or retirement pay, your weekly benefit amount may be subject to a deduction as well.

  8. How long should I wait after I lose my job to file for unemployment?
    Don't wait! File immediately. The sooner you file, the sooner you'll receive any benefits that may be available to you.

  9. How do I file for unemployment benefits?
    In Arizona there are no physical offices where you can walk in and apply for unemployment. You must apply online or by phone. Make sure you have all the information required before you start the application process.

  10. I've got a special situation. Where do I get more information??
    This Q & A is intended to provide a basic overview of the unemployment insurance situation in Arizona. There are as many different situations as there are people! Income earned in more than one state, disabled workers, workers who received vacation or other paid benefits prior to losing their job, workers who lost a job, received benefits, found a job, and then lost a job again! Here is the information about Arizona One-Stop Service Centers where you can use computers, free of charge, to complete your application and receive assistance with your claim and the claim process.

All dollar amounts, calculations and requirements mentioned herein are subject to change without notice.

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