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Missouri Unemployment Benefits

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The Missouri unemployment compensation (UC) program provides temporary financial assistance to in-state workers who are in between jobs. These candidates must have recently lost their jobs due to circumstances they could not control. UC, which may also be called unemployment insurance (UI), is funded through employers’ tax contributions to state and federal governments. In turn, workers may use these funds to provide for themselves and their dependents while they search for new jobs. The Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations is the branch of the state government that manages this program.

Applicants who want to claim unemployment benefits in MO must ensure that they qualify for the program. The sections that follow will outline the state’s eligibility for unemployment requirements, as well as explain the particular information candidates must include in their submissions. Furthermore, additional sections will describe how claimants and employers may prepare for the unemployment insurance interview and what steps must be taken if they are denied UC.

What is unemployment in Missouri?

MO unemployment insurance provides temporary relief to applicants who are in between work. In order to enroll in the state’s unemployment program, candidates must have been let go by employers through no fault of their own. Furthermore, UC candidates need to be proactively searching for new work opportunities. In the interim, however, they may receive unemployment insurance benefits. Qualified enrollees may receive state UI funds for a maximum of 20 weeks during a single calendar year. Furthermore, the state maintains a maximum weekly benefit amount (WBA) that enrollees may receive, which is $320. An applicant’s unemployment claim is valid for one calendar year starting from the date when he or she filed. However, petitioners must remember their unemployment insurance coverage will only extend for five months throughout this period.

What are the requirements to get unemployment in Missouri?

The MO Department of Labor and Industrial Relations maintains specific eligibility for unemployment requirements that claimants must meet before they may enroll in UC. Unemployment insurance eligibility in Missouri addresses applicants’ financial and employment histories. In particular, the department will inquire about:

  • Reasons for unemployment – Candidates must report why they are currently unemployed. State laws dictate that UI enrollees must be unemployed due to circumstances they did not create. This means that applicants must have no played no part in their unemployment. Thus, applicants who quit for personal reasons or who are on strike do not qualify. Conversely, candidates who lost their jobs due to work shortages or layoffs are generally eligible for UC.
  • Ability to work – The state offers disability insurance to local residents who are physically unable to work. However, individuals who fall into this category are likely to not qualify for UI. This is because one of the main requirements for UC beneficiaries is that they must be willing, able and ready to work. Not only must candidates pursue work opportunities, they must also be able to accept full-time positions that are offered.
  • Work availability – In addition to being physically able to work, claimants must also have schedules that allow them to accept full-time employment. This means that petitioners who are unable to work due to scheduling conflicts may not enroll. Examples of common situations that exclude applicants include not having access to reliable transportation or needing to be home to provide child care.

How much income applicants earned in recent months?

Qualifications for unemployment also evaluate how much income applicants earned in recent months. In order to establish who qualifies for unemployment, the state will first establish each petitioner’s base period. In general, base periods last one calendar year and are divided as follows:

  • Claimants who apply in January, February or March have a base period that starts in October from the year before last.
  • Candidates who file in April, May or June have a base period that begins in January of the previous year.
  • Petitioners who apply in July, August or September will use a base period that commences in April of the previous year.
  • Applicants who file in October, November or December will use a base period that starts in the previous year’s July.

Once the department defines claimants’ base periods, it may assess whether or not petitioners meet the program’s financial eligibility for UC requirements. In order to qualify, candidates must have earned a total of $2,250. Specifically, petitioners need to have earned $1,500 during one calendar quarter. Applicants may have earned the remaining $750 during any combination of other quarters throughout the base period.

How can I sign up for unemployment in Missouri?

Petitioners have the option of submitting an online application for unemployment in Missouri or by applying over the phone. However, learning how to apply for unemployment online may be quicker. Regardless of which method claimants choose, they must submit the following information in their materials:

  • Personal information – Petitioners who are United States citizens must submit their Social Security Numbers. On the other hand, applicants who are not citizens need to report their Alien Registration Numbers.
  • Employment History – Candidates must submit detailed accounts of their employment histories that extend for the past 18 months. Within this summary, petitioners must include their former companies’ addresses and phone numbers. Furthermore, they must disclose the dates when they worked at these particular establishments.
  • Weekly earnings – Applicants must report all earnings they received during the week they are applying for. Specifically, candidates need to submit their gross incomes, which is how much money they earned before taxes and other deductions.
  • Supplementary information – Depending on the types of jobs claimants had during the previous 18 months, the department may require them to include additional documentation in their applications. For example, military personnel who performed active duty work in the past year and a half must submit their long form Member-4 copy of the DD Form 214.

How do I prepare for the unemployment insurance interview in Missouri?

Petitioners may need to prepare for the unemployment insurance interview in Missouri. These conversations are necessary when the state requires additional information regarding applicants’ claims in order to make a decision. Specifically, the department will request an unemployment phone interview. These conversations are important, and the questions asked during unemployment interview are tailored to each claimant’s specific situation. Furthermore, these conversations are designed to help state representatives understand whether or not petitioners qualify for UC.

In some instances, the department may also request an unemployment interview with employer. These conversations are particularly necessary when state representatives need to discern the circumstances that resulted in petitioners’ unemployment. However, candidates must remember that this conversation will not be held simultaneously with the unemployment interview with claimant. In either case, parties may prepare for the UC interview by gathering relevant materials beforehand. Specifically, candidates may consider bringing:

  • Exit interview notes that were taken during the final conversation between a worker and an employer’s human resources department.
  • A copy of the employee handbook to reference if petitioners’ claims relate to specific workplace protocol or regulations.
  • Emails or other correspondence applicants sent to their employers which outline any reasonable efforts they took to keep their positions.

How do I claim unemployment benefits in Missouri?

Petitioners are able to begin claiming benefits for unemployment in Missouri once they file their applications, are accepted into the program and serve a week-long waiting period. However, in order to receive compensation through an unemployment benefits claim, enrollees must complete specific tasks on a weekly basis. Specifically, petitioners must:

  • Report all wages earned during the weeks they are claiming. This includes any commission, pension, stipends or tips that were received.
  • Report all reimbursements received by workers.

In order to claim unemployment benefits, candidates must also keep a work search log. This document is subject to review from the state, so it is imperative for enrollees to maintain accurate records. Within these logs, petitioners must report:

  • Dates – Claimants must record the dates they contacted potential employers.
  • Employers’ names – Enrollees are required to disclose the names of the hiring managers or supervisors they contacted. Similarly, they must also record the names of the companies where these individuals work.
  • Contact information – Beneficiaries need to record the addresses and phone numbers for the businesses they are applying to.
  • Position – In this work search log, candidates need to report the specific positions they are applying for.
  • Method of contact – Petitioners are required to explain how they contacted these prospective employers. Acceptable forms of contact include over the telephone, in person or via the internet.

What do I do if I am denied unemployment benefits in Missouri?

Applicants who are denied unemployment in Missouri may appeal this decision to the Division of Employment Security (DES) Appeals Tribunal. The division is part of the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, but remains impartial regarding the decisions that it issues. In addition to petitioners filing an unemployment denial appeal, employers may also request to have the department’s decisions reevaluated. Regardless, claimants who are denied unemployment benefits have 30 days to file their appeals to the DES. Afterward, a referee will be assigned to the case, and relevant parties will receive notifications regarding when their hearings will take place.

Employers and claimants who are participating in an unemployment benefits denied hearing have the right to submit supplementary evidence that the DES referees will hear. Similarly, both parties may request witnesses to testify in favor of their claims. Finally, either group may have lawyers present to represent them during these hearings. However, lawyers are not required. In any case, petitioners and employers may request in person hearings. In general, the majority of denied UI hearings are conducted over the phone.

After the UI denial appeal hearing concludes, applicants and their former employers will receive determinations in the mail. If either party disagrees with the referees’ decisions, they have 30 days to appeal to the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission.

How can I apply for a federal unemployment extension in Missouri?

A federal unemployment extension is offered on either a national or statewide basis, depending on what parts of the country are experiencing high numbers of residents without work. However, an unemployment benefits extension in Missouri or in other parts of the United States is not a common occurrence. Congress only authorizes an unemployment benefits extension when rates regarding joblessness are very high. However, when available in Missouri, recipients who have previously exhausted their UC benefits for the calendar year are eligible to enroll in the extension for additional weeks. Regardless, candidates must remember that the unemployment compensation extension is not intended to serve as a permanent solution to unemployed workers. These enrollees are still obligated to fulfill standard UI certification procedures and requirements.

How do I contact the Missouri unemployment office?

The Missouri unemployment office is available for claimants who have any questions regarding the UC enrollment process. There is an unemployment office in most major cities throughout the state. As a result, individuals may either call their local UC office or visit it in person. The Jefferson City Job Center is located at:

1716 Four Seasons Drive

Jefferson City, Missouri 65101


When should I file for unemployment benefits in Missouri?

As soon as you can. It is important that you file for unemployment benefits as soon as possible because the state does not recognize the date you are fired in regards to your benefits. You do not get credit for the time between getting fired and filing your claim.

When will I receive my benefits payment?

In the state of Missouri, if there are no issues with you claim and you qualify for unemployment benefits, you can expect to receive your first payment within 18 – 22 days from the day you filed your first claim.

Will I have to go anywhere in person?

There is a chance you may be required to report to a Missouri Job Center in order to receive special reemployment services. If you fail to participate in the Job Center program, it may result in a delay or denial of your claim.

Can I qualify for unemployment if I am receiving severance pay?

You may file an unemployment claim in Missouri while you are receiving severance pay. However, determining if you qualify is done on a case by case basis.

Missouri Unemployment Office Locations


Department of Labor and Industrial Relations 421 East Dunklin St. Jefferson City, MO 65102 (573) 751-4091 View Website Unemployement Claim File

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