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How Long Do I Have to Work For to Collect Unemployment in Arizona?

Arizona has a somewhat complicated formula for determining whether you are eligible for unemployment insurance or not; however, the definition for what qualifies as an employer is the general definition many states use given in the previous article.

Arizona has two different methods that can be used to compute eligibility.

The first one is that you must earn at least 390 times what Arizona’s minimum wage is at the time of filing your claim within one quarter of the base period. This number currently comes out to be $3,081. Therefore, you would have to earn at least $3,081 within one quarter. You also have to earn at least 1.5 times your HQW within the entire base period. The minimum earning amount required for the base period, at this time, would thus be $4,622.

The second one is a flat qualifying amount and wages earned in a least two quarters. At least one of your quarter wages must be sufficient enough to qualify for the maximum weekly benefit amount (WBA) of  $240. The WBA is computed by multiplying your HQW by 1/25. Your total base period earnings also must be at least whatever the minimum taxable wage base is, which, at this point, is $7,000.

Therefore, it is required that you worked during a minimum of one quarter of your base period if the first method is used. If the second method is used, you must have spent some time working in at least 2 quarters of the base period.


To determine your eligibility, follow this model:

For the first method:

  1. Did you earn at least 390 times the minimum wage during a single quarter of the base period?

■        your HQW > than $3,081

  1. Did you earn at least 1.5 times your HQW within the entire base period?

■        your total BP earnings > $4,622

■        your total BP earnings > 1.5 x HQW

If you answered yes to both questions, you are eligible for unemployment compensation.


For the second method:

  1. Did you spend time working during at least two quarters of the base period?

■        # of quarters in which you worked > than 2 quarters

  1. Does your HQW qualify for the maximum WBA?

■        Your HQW x 1/25 > than $240

  1. Did you earn a minimum base period total of at least the minimum taxable wage base?

■        your total BP earnings > than $7,000

If you answered yes to all three questions, you are eligible for unemployment insurance.

Arizona does not offer an alternate base period; however an extended base period is available to those who were injured/disabled during the regular base period and file a claim within 2 years of the beginning of being injured/disabled. If this is the case, the base period can be extended to the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before the injury/disability began.

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