PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said Friday he plans to sign an executive order increasing access to unemployment benefits in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. It comes hours before another executive order that forces gyms, movie theaters, and bars to close goes into effect.
which has forced the closure of some local restaurants, bars, movie theaters, and gyms.
Governor Doug Ducey announced an executive order Friday regarding access to unemployment benefits amid the spread of the coronavirus.
According to Governor Ducey, the executive order waives the one week waiting period between when someone is laid off and when they can file for unemployment.
It also waives work search requirements for those receiving unemployment benefits, meaning you no longer have to prove that you are applying for current jobs.
“The state of Arizona will continue to take proactive measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 and protect public health,” said Governor Ducey. “These are important steps to get help to Arizonans out of work and struggling to make ends meet because of COVID-19. These are just some steps out of many we will continue to take to support Arizonans in need during this time — and Arizona will get through this together.”
According to a release by the governor, the executive order also “Adds people who work at a business that has been temporarily closed or has reduced hours because of COVID-19, who have to quarantine because of COVID-19, or who have to care for a family member with COVID-19 to the list of people eligible for unemployment insurance.”
The executive order also instructs the Arizona Department of Revenue to move the deadline for filing and paying state income taxes from April 15 to July 15, 2020, which matches the IRS timeline.
It's unclear when these changes will go into place.
As more businesses close and lay-off numbers rise, economists are expecting a wave of people to apply for unemployment benefits.
So how does the process work?
The Unemployment Insurance Benefit Program gives a temporary source of income for people who've lost their jobs through no fault of their own. That includes many impacted by COVID-19.
In Arizona, you apply with the Department of Economic Security.
To receive money, you have to show you were working for a specific time period before you lost your job.
"Unemployment benefits in most states are cumbersome to get and they also aren't sufficient to cover a large percentage of your salary in most cases," said Elliot Pollack, Ceo of Elliott D. Pollack and Company.
How much you get varies based on the amount you previously earned. According to DES, it can range between $187 to $240 a week. You can get the weekly amount for up to 26 weeks.
Economist Elliot Pollack said it's unlikely DES is ready for the influx of applications, and waiting times will be long.
"We have never dealt with anything like this before," he said. "Don't panic. Do your research and be persistent."
DES does not have Unemployment Insurance offices. You must apply online at www.AZUI.gov. If you don't have a computer, you can go to a One-Stop Center and use a computer there for free. Some of the offices may have staff to help, though right now--many aren't letting people in to stop the spread of the virus.
You can find a list of One-Stop Center or DES Employment Service Office here.
For more from the Department of Economic Security, click here.