State officials announced individuals who have applied for state unemployment benefits will begin receiving CARES Act funding as soon as this week. The CARES Act provided approximately $250 billion to state unemployment programs and covers an additional $600 per week in unemployment benefits on top of what states provide. It also offers an additional 13 weeks of benefits. 

In addition, the CARES Act expands those eligible for unemployment insurance to include: those that have exhausted their rights to regular unemployment, self-employed individuals, independent contractors, those seeking part-time work, those that do not have sufficient work history, and those whose place of employment has closed because of COVID-19.

Arkansas unemployment benefits range from $81 to $451 per week, based on prior salary history. An individual that is currently receiving $400 from the state of Arkansas in unemployment benefits will now receive a total of $1,000 a week until July 25th or when the individual is employed – whichever is sooner. This program is also retroactive. Therefore, if you were approved for unemployment on March 30th, you will receive 2 weeks back pay ($1,200) if you begin to receive the additional $600 on your benefits for the week of April 13th.

If you are working less than full time, or have completely separated from your last job, you may file your Arkansas Unemployment Insurance claim from your own home computer at EZARC or by calling the hotline number, 1-844-908-2178. There is no separate application to receive the CARES Act unemployment benefit.