If you’re a Missouri resident, and you find yourself in between jobs, you might be wondering if you’d qualify for unemployment benefits to help pay your bills in the meantime (if you are looking for a job check out the CDS program).
In this guide, we’ll go over all you need to know about unemployment insurance benefits in Missouri.
You’ll learn if you might be eligible, what you can expect as far as benefits, how to apply, and a lot more.
Who is eligible for unemployment benefits in Missouri?
To be eligible for unemployment insurance in Missouri, you must have been working a job recently, and you must be currently out of work through no fault of your own.
Let’s look at the specific requirements, and we’ll explain them further below.
- You must have lost your job through no fault of your own
- You must be available to work and actively searching for work
- You must have been earning a minimum amount during your the previous year (also known as base period, more on that below)
Let’s take a deeper look into the requirements for you to claim unemployment benefits.
What does it mean to be out of work through no fault of my own?
To be out of work through no fault of yours means that you had to quit working for reasons that were beyond your control.
For example, during an economic downturn, companies often have to lay off a part of their workforce, even if those employees were performing at a satisfactory level.
Or let’s say you were let go because the plant or factory where you were working had to close down.
Another example might be that your company has implemented a new system of work, and you don’t currently have the required skills to operate within that new system.
These are examples of scenarios where you would be eligible for unemployment benefits.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re automatically disqualified if you quit or you were fired.
What if I quit my job or got fired?
If you were fired, it would depend on the circumstances under which you were let go.
If you got fired because you currently lack the necessary job skills, or other reasons that aren’t your fault, then you might be eligible for unemployment.
But if you got fired due to misconduct at the workplace or because you knowingly violated company policies, then you would likely not qualify.
If you quit your job, then you would typically not qualify for unemployment, because that would mean you’re choosing to be out of a job.
But if you had no choice but to quit, let’s say due to a hazardous work environment, or sexual harassment, or other similar reasons, then you can make the case that you should be eligible for Missouri unemployment.
For all the details about unemployment eligibility, check out the Missouri Dept. of Labor’s website.
What does it mean to actively search for work?
To actively search for work means that you must be available for work during each week for which you claim unemployment benefits.
There are a few factors to consider.
You must not have any health conditions or circumstances that would prevent you from working. You must also not refuse an offer for suitable work that you’re qualified for.
If you refuse an offer to work, your unemployment claim might be denied.
You might be asked to visit one of the Missouri Job Centers to report on your job search activity.
The job centers offer a number of services that could help you find work, like personalized job search consultations, skills assessments, certificates to help find work, and more.
What is the base period (income requirement) for unemployment in Missouri?
As with most other states, Missouri looks at what is known as a “base period” to determine your eligibility for unemployment benefits.
This base period is a one-year period prior to your claim of unemployment, and your eligibility is based on your earnings and work history during this time.
In Missouri, the base period is the first four of the five complete calendar quarters prior to your application.
If that sounds confusing, here’s an example.
Let’s say you’re applying for unemployment for the week of April 11, 2021.
The five complete calendar quarters before that would be as follows.
- January – March, 2020
- April – June, 2020,
- July – September, 2020
- October – December, 2020
- January – March, 2021
The first four of those five quarters would cover January 1 – December 31, 2020, which will become your base period for that specific claim.
Base period income requirements
To qualify for Missouri unemployment, your minimum income has to be at least $2,250 during the entire base period (in 2021, so be sure to check with your local unemployment office for up-to-date numbers).
Additionally, you must also have earned a minimum of $1,500 during at least one of the quarters in your base period. Which means that you could earn a total of another $750 during the other three quarters to meet your $2,250 goal.
You must also meet ONE of the following income requirements.
- Your total income during your base period must be at least 1.5 times greater than your income during your biggest income quarter (for example, $2,250 = $1,500 X 1.5)
- OR, you must earn 1.5 times the taxable wage base amount during the two of the four base period quarters.
Check out all the details about Missouri unemployment benefits.
Eligibility under special circumstances
Under special circumstances like we saw with COVID-19, the eligibility rules are often adjusted.
For example, it wouldn’t make much sense to ask you to keep showing up to work if there are any health concerns. Or if you’re self-employed, and wouldn’t typically qualify for unemployment benefits, you might be eligible during a pandemic.
If you think there are special circumstances when you’re applying, check Missouri Labor Dept’s website for the latest eligibility details.
How much unemployment will I get in Missouri?
If you qualify, then your weekly unemployment payment would be equal to 4 percent of your average quarterly income during your two highest paid quarters within the base period.
So, if you made $4,000 the first quarter, $5,000 during the second, $6,000 during the third, and $3,000 during the final one, then the second and third quarter would be you two biggest ones.
And the average would be $5,500 ((5,000 + 6,000) / 2).
So, your weekly benefit would be 4 percent of $5,500, which is $220. The maximum weekly benefit is $320 in 2021.
But as with eligibility, during special situations like COVID-19, you might get additional assistance.
With the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), you’ll receive an additional $300 per week if you’re eligible for Missouri unemployment benefits, starting January 2, 2021, and continuing till September 4, 2021.
How long will unemployment benefits last in Missouri?
Unemployment benefits usually last for 20 weeks in Missouri. But as we mentioned above, suring unforeseen circumstances like a pandemic, the duration of the benefits can be increased, along with additional payments.
How long does it take to get approved for unemployment in Missouri?
The approval process usually takes around 7-10 days. But during times when there are a lot of new applicants, or a higher than usual volume of claims, you can expect delays.
How to apply for unemployment benefits in Missouri?
For detailed instructions on how to file your claim for Missouri unemployment, you can refer to this step-by-step guide.
You can also chat with the Missouri Labor Dept chatbot if you have any questions.
But let’s take a quick look at the 3 steps that are involved in the process.
Step 1 – Register as a new claimant
Go to the UInteract homepage to create an account.
You’ll have to provide all of your details like name, social security number, etc., and create your login and password.
Step 2 – File your first unemployment claim
Once you’ve registered and the system has all of your personal information, employment history, banking information, etc., then you’ll log back in and file a claim for your first weekly unemployment benefit.
Step 3 – File your weekly unemployment claims
You have to then continue claiming unemployment benefits after each week while you remain unemployed and eligible for benefits.
All you’d need to do is login each week and follow the prompts and instructions for weekly payment requests.
Each week, you will receive a confirmation after you successfully file a claim.
Can you appeal if you get denied unemployment benefits in Missouri?
If your unemployment insurance claim was denied, then you have 30 days from the date of the determination to appeal the decision.
You can fill out this form or make an appeal online at UInteract.
As a claimant, you must include the following information with your appeal.
- Social Security Number (SSN)
- Your employer’s name
- The date and subject matter of the decision you’re appealing
- Write a short statement summarizing why you’re appealing the decision
You have to mail or fax the appeals form, or do it online. You can’t file an appeal by telephone or email.
If appealing by mail, send the form to Appeals Office address listed below.:
Unemployment office information in Missouri
Here are the unemployment offices in Missouri.
Regional Claims Center
These offices can help with all your basic questions about applying for unemployment in Missouri. They can answer questions about filling out the application for claims, help you review the information on your file, and more
They can also help you check the status of a claim you’ve already filed.
If you’d rather reach out to an office online, you can fill out a form online as well.
Outside Local Calling Area
This is the office where you would send your appeals form, if you decide to do it by mail.
Division of Employment Security
P.O. Box 59
Jefferson City, MO 65104-0059
While you can’t file an appeal by email, you can still get in touch with them with any questions, or to check the status of your appeal.
Appeals Email: [email protected]
Take some time to review the eligibility criteria mentioned in this article to see if you can qualify for unemployment benefits in Missouri.
If you think you meet the requirements, then get the process started ASAP so you can get the assistance you need to pay the bills while you find your next job.
If you need help finding your next job, the Missouri Jobs Center may have a variety of helpful resources. So, be sure to check them out.
And if you have any questions about the process of filing claims, you can refer to this guide or get in touch with one of the regional claims offices listed above.