Arizona unemployment filing process. Because, like what else have you got to do?

by Rudy Preston and Meteor Staff

Saturday, April 11, update:

If you are self-employed (artist, musician, Uber driver, other contract labor), ran out of UI benefits, or just didn’t make enough money in 2019 to qualify for the portion of an AZ UI check the State pays from their own funds, the CARES act provided that you should still qualify for unemployment and would still get a $600 a week check via the AZ unemployment system. Many have already filed and were accepted into the AZ UI system, but get a zero dollar disbursement. They received a notice this morning from AZ UI system that says the $600 checks will be on the way soon, but there may be an extra hoop to jump through.

IF YOU ALREADY FILED and are in this classification:

1. Continue to file your weekly claim if they let you.
2. Keep track of any wages you do bring in.
3. Watch for a snail mail letter or email that describes the final hoop you need to jump through to get the federal funding via the state unemployment system.

Original story begins here:

Thousands of people in Flagstaff and on the Colorado Plateau are finding themselves out of work due to their employer cutting back hours or closing entirely. Many are also intentionally stepping back from work in order to self isolate for their personal safety or the safety of family or household members.

The process for applying for unemployment is time consuming, confusing, and fraught with pitfalls. So much so that it may be kind of scary.

Longtime Flagstaffian and community organizer Rudy Preston has put together the following advice and step by step guidance to help move through the process.

Start at #7 and work up if you have not yet applied:

1. Your $600 per week additional Unemployment has been approved
2. How to check the Status/Balance of your Unemployment Claim
3. How to find out where your bank of America Debit Card is
4. Unemployment Weekly Claims no longer require you to “look for work”
5. Get Direct Deposit instead of using Debit Card
6. How to file a Weekly Claim
7. How to apply for Unemployment


1. Your $600 per week additional Unemployment has been approved

The state of AZ has sent an email to all those currently on unemployment that said they have received money from the Federal Government to add $600 per week to everyone’s weekly disbursement. You do not need to do anything to receive the extra funding. It should begin in mid-April and last at least until July 31, 2020.

2. How to check the Status/Balance of your UI Claim

If you are wondering if you have jumped through all the hoops necessary to get your claim approved, follow these instructions:

A. Go to the File your weekly Claim Page:
B. Input your Social Security Number and click submit
C. You will see the following screen, Click on the last tab “Establish/Reset Password” and fill out the form:




D. Once you have set your password, you will automatically be logged in to the system. Click on the “View Claim Info” tab and it will tell you if you have unresolved issues (see image below). Please note, your password is not the same as your file a weekly claim PIN that you set when filing for unemployment.

3. Where is my debit card that has my UI Money?

UI Debit Cards are used to disperse your weekly UI money and should arrive in the mail after your UI application has been approved. . They can take a LONG time to arrive (See item #5 below to get direct deposit set up instead). You may have money put on your card long before you get the card in the mail. Bank of America has a hotline to service AZ UI Debit Cards:

A. Call 1-855-847-2030
B. When they ask you for your Card Number input 0#
C. Wait on hold for an extraordinary amount of time
D. A person will eventually get on the line and verify your personal information and tell you where/when your card will arrive.

4. No need to look for work until shelter in place lifts?

If you have filled out the Weekly claim a few times now you should will notice the form has some parts answered “correctly” for you now and you no longer have to fill out the four places you looked for work. As long as you fill out the form every week you should get Unemployment for at least 26 weeks, plus you may even get a 13 week extension. However, unless the Feds kick down more funding you will only get the extra $600 a week for the next four months (about 16-17 checks).

5. Direct Deposit of UI to your bank account

If you wish to receive a direct deposit into your bank account instead of using the Debit Card you must snail mail this form with a voided check from your bank account. If you have no checks, you have to figure out a way to get someone at your bank to fill out part of the form to vouch for you (welcome to 1984). It will take 10-30 days for DES to accomplish what most businesses can do automatically during the online application process:

** If money has already been disbursed to your UI debit card, it will not get re-disbursed, you will have to spend it from there.


If you wish to get as much as $840 every week for quite a few months, you MUST continue to file a weekly claim even if it seems pointless to be pointless bureaucracy. DON’T FORGET!!! Write a reminder on your arm in sharpie if you have to! Pick a day and time and just do it every week at that same time!! (Not Friday night or all day Saturday, the DES website goes offline to PARTAY!) Here is a link if you forgot:

7. What??? You have not applied for UI Yet?

IMPORTANT!!! After you have completed the online form you will get a snail mail letter from DES that has a signature sheet in it. If you do not sign it and mail it back, they will DENY your claim and you will not get paid.
$840 a week till the pandemic is hopefully over just might keep you from becoming homeless or bankrupt. You can even apply if you were self-employed (yes, even in a music band or other artist type). It might be more than you were making when you had to work three jobs to afford rent in Flagstaff. Just click the link below. The only thing you need to know besides your name, social security number, and mailing address is your drivers license or state ID number. If you only worked in AZ, then they will already have your work history, nothing more is needed.


IMPORTANT!!! After you have completed the online form you will get a snail mail letter from DES that has a signature sheet in it. If you do not sign it and mail it back, they will DENY your claim and you will not get paid.

*** Self-employed types may have a hard time trying to file a claim. You will also have a couple of other snail mail hoops to jump through. Mostly DES has no idea how to handle your claim since you normally would not be eligible. They just need to figure out how much to pay you.

The Meteor is lining up a couple of volunteers who can assist folks who are stuck somewhere in the process. In a day or so we will have a system set up where you may contact these angels. We will both update this article and make a separate post as we have something to announce.

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