Q & A

I am a part-time employee/self-employed individual and think I qualify for Unemployment Insurance Benefits because of the CARES Act. After applying for benefits, I received a letter in the mail that says my benefit amount is zero. Does that mean I’ve been denied benefits?

The CARES act is changing eligibility for individuals who normally would not qualify for benefits if they didn't earn enough countable wages, self-employed or were a 1099 independent contractor. After they apply for Unemployment Insurance (UI), you may get a wage statement in the mail that states you do not qualify because your wages do not meet the minimum requirements. This is not a denial letter, it is just informing you of the wages the State either does or does not have record of.

Do I need to appeal the information in the wage statement or file additional paperwork to apply for the CARES Act Payment?

No. There is nothing to appeal at this point. The CARES Act benefits are paid for by the federal government, and Arizona is waiting for information on when they will be available. When the funding becomes available, DES will work to pay the benefits as quickly as possible. Individuals will not have to submit additional paperwork to qualify, it will be applied on top of their existing benefits.

What happens next?

You must file weekly claims and wait for further instructions from DES. Although you won't necessarily be getting any money from the State Unemployment Insurance (since you don't have countable wages), you could be eventually getting the $600/week payment once DES has it set up. More information about weekly claims can be found at https://des.az.gov/services/employment/unemployment-individual/weekly-unemployment-insurance-claims

How long will it take to receive my first CARES Act Unemployment Benefit payment?

Processing times are longer than usual due to the number of applications received over the past few weeks. It could take up to 21 days to process and approve the claim and 14 days for payments to start after the claim is processed and approved.

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