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Arkansas' pandemic unemployment assistance system back online

After weeks of waiting, Arkansas’ pandemic unemployment system is back up and running one week earlier than expected.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Thousands of Arkansans will soon receive unemployment payments they've been waiting on for weeks.

The Arkansas PUA system reopened the morning of Friday, Jan. 29 of 2021, after undergoing new updates to reflect new programs requirements under the continued assistance act extension," said Mike Preston, Arkansas Secretary of Commerce.

It's welcomed news for Arkansans who depend on federal aid to help pay their rent or put food on the table.

More than 50,000 emails were recently sent to Arkansans with approved status informing them of the changes and already 4,900 payments have been made to individuals.

“DWS sent an email with a link to verify the ID online. This link will take you through the ID verification process using a new service called you to identify," said Dr. Charisse Childers, Director, Division of Workforce Services.

The new online ID verification makes the system more secure and hopefully, less bogged down with fraud.

“It’s been a challenging process for those that have expecting or waiting for payment. It’s been challenging for us to adhere to this but know that we’re able to go back and make the retroactive payments," Preston said.

If you need that money right away that email is critical, so be sure you have provided DWS with the correct address and check your spam folder just in case.

“For those that have already applied and have been verified, it’s just a matter of having their id verified and those processed and those would be turned around today," Childers said.

In December of last year, then-President Trump signed into law a continuation of the pandemic unemployment assistance program.

Last year alone the state of Arkansas paid out $2.5 billion in unemployment benefits.

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