PHOENIX — Individuals who previously received unemployment benefits and have now returned to work are now eligible to apply for a "Return to Work Bonus" (RTWB) of up to $2,000, the Arizona Department of Economic Security announced Tuesday.
The bonus is part of Arizona Governor Doug Ducey’s "Arizona’s Back to Work" program, which hopes to encourage more people who were impacted by the pandemic to find part-time and full-time jobs rather than continue to collect unemployment benefits, which included an additional $300 from the federal government.
The state stopped issuing the federal unemployment benefit on July 10, 2021, which provided an additional $300 per week on top of the state's max unemployment benefit of $240 a week.
To receive the one-time $2,000 bonus, full-time employees can apply after working 320 hours, or eight 40-hour weeks. To receive a one-time $1,000 bonus, part-time workers can apply after working 160 hours, or eight 20-hour weeks.
People can view the complete eligibility rules and apply for the bonuses by clicking here.
Previous unemployment claimants can also apply for the Child Care Returning Workers Program anytime through September 6. If an individual is deemed eligible, the state will provide three months of childcare assistance.
Those who received benefits before or after May 15, but not during the benefit week ending on May 8, 2021, are not eligible for the program, the state said. However, people can apply for regular childcare assistance.
“Arizonans are going back to work, and the Return-to-Work Bonuses, combined with child care supports, will make the transition easier for unemployment claimants,” DES Director Michael Wisehart said in a statement.
The state is also giving $6 million for GED test prep and exam fees for eligible workers who do not have a high school diploma as well as $7.5 million to reimburse community colleges for scholarships for those eligible for the bonuses.