Arkansas launches unemployment website, extends hotline hours


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Arkansas is launching a new website for residents working to file for unemployment, according to the state Secretary of Commerce on Thursday.

The website, , provides an FAQ for Arkansans working through issues filing with unemployment amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state website includes a section for them to sign up for weekly updates on the program’s status.

Arkansas Secretary of Commerce Michael Preston said 7,000 workers have already signed up.

“Rather than going to the hotline or the traditional website you can scan that QR code and you can go to that and submit your information,” Preston said.

You can file online through the website between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., Sunday through Saturday, or call to file at 1-844-908-2178.

The state is extending the hotline to 6 days a week, starting at 6 a.m. and running until 4 p.m.

A total of 150,000 unemployment claims have been filed and processed in the state since March.

Of those, 34,000 claims were submitted in the second week of April alone.

“Hopefully we can clear out all the queue that are on the phone at 4:00 and get them processed. We’ll see how that system works over the weeks to hopefully take that to seven days a week,” Preston said.

In past weeks, people have shared stories of the filing process being unreliable. Jimmy Johnson lost his income after his job at Tim’s Pizza East in Fayetteville was made expendable, and his wife tried filing online nearly every day since then. The site crashed every time she tried.

“I get on there multiple times a day,” Bethany Johnson said. “You’ve gotta go in there and fill out the whole form over and over again, and then at the end you just wait and wait, and then it crashes.”

Though she’s had trouble throughout this process, she hopes the new website and system will be able to handle the thousands of claims coming in.

“You’re just gonna have to be patient and hope they get something figured out very soon,” Johnson said.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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