The Arkansas Division of Workforce Services announced that the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) website is back up and running on Wednesday, May 20, for independent contractors, self-employed and gig workers to apply.
On Friday, May 15, the site had to be taken down after the Arkansas Times reported a story from a computer programmer who was applying for the PUA and discovered that personal sensitive information was not properly secure within the system.
In the aftermath of this discovery, state officials launched an active investigation to determine whether the information was compromised.
An email notification was sent today to applicants who have been determined to meet the conditions for Interim Approval of PUA benefits. Approved eligible applicants started filing weekly claims today and payments are expected to be processed by the end of the week. The filing of weekly claims does not require personal identification or financial information.
The interim approval authorizes payments at the minimum weekly total of $132 plus the $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation weekly bonus. A formal determination of eligibility approval will be provided to applicants later who may be able to adjust their weekly payments up to $451. In addition, they will be able to claim retroactive weeks for unemployment caused by the pandemic.
The PUA website was designed and built by ProTech Solutions Inc. of Little Rock under a $3 million contract.