Unemployment Eligibility in Arizona (AZ)

The Department of Economic Security administers Arizona’s unemployment insurance benefits program.  In order to determine your unemployment eligibility in Arizona, use our simple eligibility tool on this page.  

The unemployment program in the state of Arizona is governed by the Employment Security Law of Arizona, and the State Rules that set the Arizona unemployment eligibility requirements for citizens who want to collect unemployment benefits.  Generally speaking, Arizona citizens who have become unemployed through no fault of their own and who are ready and willing to go back to work will qualify for benefits. 

This service is funded by taxes paid by Arizona employers and is provided at no cost to those seeking benefits.  However, to qualify for benefits, an applicant must meet certain criteria.  Failure to do so can result in a delay or loss of benefits.

How unemployment works in Arizona

Here’s a quick overview of how the unemployment insurance process works in Arizona.

  1. Before you apply, make sure you meet all benefit requirements. Arizona citizens who have become unemployed through no fault of their own, who are ready and willing to go back to work will qualify for benefits.  To maintain benefits, you must be ready, willing and able to accept suitable employment, and you must conduct an ongoing job search.
  2. If you meet all benefit requirements, then you can apply for unemployment insurance.   Arizona is somewhat unique among states because it provides 11 different unemployment insurance programs for citizens.  To file a claim, you can log on to Department of Economic Security (DES) or you can locate a local Arizona unemployment office from the listings of Arizona unemployment office locations.
  3. Determine the amount of your benefit.   The amount of your unemployment insurance benefit is calculated by the amount of insured wages paid to your during a one-year period called a Base Period.  The Base Period is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before you file your claim. If you are not eligible for benefits using the Base Period, you may be eligible to use an Alternate Base Period.  You can also calculate the amount of unemployment benefits you may be entitled to in Arizona by using this calculator.
  4. Determine the number of weeks you can draw benefits.  After you complete the Arizona unemployment application process, you will receive a Wage Statement, A Guide to Arizona UI Benefits pamphlet and a Certificate of Understanding in the mail. This will give you the specific amount of weeks that you can draw benefits.
  5. Know how and when you will be paid.  The state of Arizona makes UI payments to claimants either by direct deposit or through the use of a debit card.  It generally takes about three to four weeks before receive your first payment. If you claim your weeks in a timely manner, you will receive payments every two weeks after that until you become employed again.
  6. Conduct an ongoing job search.  Arizona requires all benefit recipients to look for full-time work while drawing benefits.  Recipients are required to register with the Arizona Job Connection as part of their search activities. 
  7. You can file an appeal if you are denied benefits.  If you are denied or disqualified from receiving benefits, you have the right to file an appeal. An appeal must be filed within the time frame stated on your determination letter, which is 15 calendar days in most cases.

How to File for Arizona Unemployment Insurance Benefits

To file Arizona unemployment, you first must identify the unemployment program that fits you. Arizona is somewhat unique among states because it provides 11 different unemployment insurance programs for citizens.  They include:

Arizona Unemployment Insurance – You are eligible based on the amount of wages you earn during your base period or alternate base period.  This program is funded by employers who are required to pay an unemployment insurance tax.

Arizona Unemployment Insurance for Federal Employees – Eligibility for this program depends on the unemployment insurance laws of the state where you last worked as a federal government civilian employee.

Arizona Unemployment Insurance for Ex-Military and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Personnel – Arizona unemployment eligibility is determined based on the reason you separated from employment in the United States armed forces or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  You will need to provide information from your Form DD-214.

Combined Wages – This program allows you to combine wages from all states you worked in, and you have the option of filing in any one of the states where you worked.  By combining wages, you may be able to increase the amount of unemployment insurance benefits you can receive. 

Arizona Unemployment Claim Filing - Filing a claim for unemployment benefits in the state of Arizona requires you to follow the steps to verify eligibility, complete the application, and communicate directly with the state via its website or in an unemployment office. This claim filing process is explained in more detail below.

Approved Training – If you are currently enrolled in a training program, you may still be able to draw benefits after the department reviews and approves the course and the school you are attending.

Shared Work – You may be eligible for for a portion of your state of Arizona unemployment benefits if your work hours are reduced but you are not laid off.  Your employer must apply and be approved for a Shared Work plan to be eligible.

Arizona Workers Compensation Claim – If you have a work related disability, injury or illness, you can use an alternate base period if you received Workers Compensation benefits from your employer and you did not have enough wages in your regular base period to qualify for benefits.

Labor Dispute Claim – If a labor dispute results in a lockout or a strike, you may be able to file a claim to collect benefits.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance – Federal unemployment assistance may be available to workers when they lose their jobs as a result of a major disaster.

Trade Readjustment Allowance – You may be able to collect federal unemployment benefits if it can be shown you lost your job due to imports into the United States.

Arizona Extended Benefits – If your regular unemployment insurance benefits expire during a time of high unemployment, you may be able to secure additional weeks of benefits during an Extended Benefit period for unemployment payments in Arizona.  This is called an unemployment benefits extension.

What are the requirements to qualify for state of Arizona unemployment benefits?

To be able to collect your unemployment from the state, visit the Arizona unemployment website here.  If you do not have a computer, you can visit a One-Stop Center or a DES Employment Service office resource center when you can use a computer free of charge. 

To find a One-Stop Center or DES Employment Service Office to file Arizona unemployment, go here.  The Arizona unemployment application process can take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes.  When you set up your claim, you will be given a Personal Identification Number (PIN) that you must use to file your continued Arizona unemployment weekly claim and to view payment information.

To file an Arizona unemployment claim, you will need several pieces of information, including:

  • Your Social Security number
  • An Arizona driver’s license or a state-issued ID
  • Mailing address
  • Names, addresses and contact information of the employers you have worked for in the past 18 months
  • The last day you worked
  • Any vacation, severance or holiday pay that you are entitled to
  • Any pension money that you are receiving
  • The name and phone number of your union hall, if applicable

After you complete the Arizona unemployment application process, you will receive a Wage Statement, A Guide to Arizona UI Benefits pamphlet and a Certificate of Understanding in the mail.  These items will be delivered to you in about a week.  Some people will also receive an Electronic Payment Card, which is just like a debit card so that your payments can be loaded onto the card after it is activated.

Before you can begin collecting benefits, you will need to go through a Waiting Week, which is the first week that you file an Arizona unemployment claim.  You will receive no benefits for this week.

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How much will you be paid by Arizona unemployment?

The amount of your unemployment insurance benefit is calculated by the amount of insured wages paid to your during a one-year period called a Base Period.  Insured wages are defined as those wages that are paid by an employer who pays unemployment insurance taxes.

The Base Period is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before you file your claim. 

If you are not eligible for benefits using the Base Period, you may be eligible to use an Alternate Base Period, if you also received Workers’ Compensation.  The Alternate Base Period uses waged earned before you became disabled and is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters prior to the date you became disabled. 

Arizona Unemployment Claim Schedule

If your claim begins:Your base period will be:Your alternate base period will be:
This year between January 1 and March 31Last year between January 1 and September 30 and the year before between October 1 and December 31Last yearbetween January 1and December 31
This year between April 1 and June 30Last year between January 1 and December 31Last year between April 1 and December 31 and this year between January 1 and March 31
This year betweenJuly 1 and September 30Last year between April 1 and December 31 and this year between January 1 and March 31Last year between July 1 and December 31 And this year between January 1 and June 30
This year betweenOctober 1 and December 31Last year between July 1 and December 31and this year between January 1 and June 30Last year between October 1 and December 31 and this year between January 1 and September 30

To qualify for benefits, your employer must have paid unemployment insurance taxes and you must have earned at least 390 times the Arizona minimum wage in your highest earning quarter.  You must also have earned at least half that amount in any one of the three remaining quarters as well. 

For example, if you earned $6,000 in one quarter, then you must have also earned at least $3,000 in any one of the three remaining quarters.  As an alternative, 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.

To calculate the amount of unemployment benefits you may be entitled to in Arizona, you can use this calculator.

When will you begin receiving unemployment checks if you are eligible?  How are unemployment benefits in Arizona paid?

The state of Arizona makes UI payments to claimants either by direct deposit or through the use of a debit card.

With direct deposit, you can have your unemployment funds deposited directly into your bank account.  This is the fastest and most secure way to receive your payments.

You may also elect to receive your funds through a DES debit card.  The debit card is issued through a partner bank and your UI benefit payments are loaded directly on to the card.  You can then use the debit card to make purchases for goods and services.

It generally takes about three to four weeks before receive your first payment.  If you claim your weeks in a timely manner, you will receive payments every two weeks after that until you become employed again. 

It is critical that you file a weekly continued claim regardless of your Arizona unemployment eligibility status.  If you earn any money during your benefit week (which runs from 12:01 am Sunday until midnight the following Saturday), you must report those wages.  Similarly, if you get a job and go back to work, you must also report that update as well. 

To file an Arizona unemployment weekly continued claim, go here and click on “File Your Weekly UI Claims” and follow the instructions that are provided on the page.  Be prepared to detail your work search efforts as part of filing your continued claim process.

You can also file your weekly continued claim by using the Telephone Information and Payment System (TIPS) which is available 24/7.  Use the following phone numbers to file your claim:

  • 1-877-766-8477 (Toll Free)
  • 1-602-417-3800 Phoenix
  • 1-520-884-8477 Tucson

What if you are denied unemployment benefits? What are reasons an Arizona unemployment claim is denied?

You will be mailed a notice if you are denied or disqualified from receiving benefits.  Some of the reasons why you may be denied may include:

  • Being fired for misconduct or you quit your last job.
  • You refused an offer to return to work.
  • You lied on your Arizona unemployment claim application.
  • You did not make a diligent attempt to find work.
  • You were not ready, willing and able to look for work.
  • You had childcare, transportation or illness issues that kept you from seeking work or actually going back to work.
  • You started a training program.

If you are denied or disqualified from receiving benefits, you have the right to file an appeal.  An appeal must be filed within the time frame stated on your determination letter.  The date your appeal time frame starts is the postmark date on your letter.  

  • Your first level of appeal is known as a Determination of Deputy.  You have 15 calendar days to file that appeal.
  • Your next level of appeal is a Decision of Appeal Tribunal.  You have 30 calendar days to submit that appeal.
  • Your next level of appeal is a Decision of Appeals Board.  You also have 30 calendar days to submit that appeal.

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How to file an appeal to your denied unemployment claim.

You can file an appeal several ways:

  • By calling the number on the front of your determination letter
  • On the Internet by going here
  • By submitting a letter to the address found on your determination letter
  • By appealing in person the an Economic Service Office or a One Stop partner office of the DES.

Additional Terms to understand about Arizona Unemployment Insurance

Alternate Base Period – If you did not earn enough wages during your regular base period, you may be able to have your benefits calculated based on earnings from an alternate base period only if you also collected Workers Compensation during your base period as well.

Base Period – This is a 12-month period that the department looks at to determine what your wages were and then uses that amount to make sure you qualify for UI benefits.  It is the first four completed quarters of the last five completed calendar quarters.

Benefit Year – DES establishes a benefit year when a person first files their claim.  It is a 12-month period that begins on the first Sunday of the week when a claim is filed.  A person may collect benefits up to their maximum amount award or until their benefit year expires, whichever comes first.

Claim Beginning Date - Your claim begins on the Sunday of the week that you filed your claim, not on the date that you became unemployed.

Claim Ending Date – Your unemployment insurance benefit will end 52 weeks after your claim beginning date.  A new claim must be filed if you are still unemployed or partially unemployed at the end of this period.

DES Employment Service – This is the Department of Economic Security’s job search and job services program that assists unemployed workers in finding full time employment. It is also known as the Arizona Job Connection.

UI or Unemployment Insurance – This is the name of the benefits you will receive in Arizona. 

Weekly Benefit Amount – This is the amount you receive each week if you meet all eligibility requirements.  If you work part-time, your weekly benefit amount will be reduced.  Your wages are subtracted from your weekly benefit amount.

For more information on unemployment eligibility in Arizona, try these sources.

There are several ways to get additional information on unemployment insurance benefits in Arizona.

Arizona Unemployment Contact

Arizona Unemployment Phone Number

Arizona Reemployment Rapid Access (ARRA) (outside of Maricopa and Pima County) 

1-877-600-2722 (Toll Free) 1-602-364-2722 Phoenix 1-520-791-2722 Tucson

Telecommunications for the Deaf (TDD) 1-877-877-6226(ARRA and TIPS)

Telephone Information and Payment System (TIPS)

1-877-766-8477 (Toll Free)
1-602-417-3800 Phoenix
1-520-884-8477 Tucson

Arizona Unemployment Office

Locate a local Arizona unemployment office from our listings of Arizona unemployment office locations here.  You can file an Arizona unemployment claim and have your questions answered at any local unemployment office in your area.

What is the Arizona Unemployment Rate?

The local unemployment rate in the state of Arizona is 5.1% as of July 2017, based on statistics released by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.  This compares unfavorably with the most recent national unemployment rate of 4.3%.

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I acknowledge and understand that by submitting this Contact Request form through clicking "Check Eligibility!", I provide my express consent to the following: (1) That I am bound by Eligibility.com LLC’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use; (2) That I am not required to submit this form, and thereby agree to all terms located herein, as a condition to receive any property, goods, or services that may be offered, and that I may revoke my consent at any time.