Frequently Asked Questions for Claimants
How do I start a claim?
Internet: The Internet Claim Filing System is available 24 hours a day, except between 11:30 p.m. on Saturday and 12:31 a.m. on Sunday, Central Time. You also may use the Internet claim filing system to file your weekly certification. Please visit www.moclaim.mo.gov.
Telephone:The telephone filing system is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time, Monday through Friday, except holidays. The Regional Claims Centers (RCC) answer calls in the order they are received.
You must call from a touch-tone phone. If your phone has a PULSE/TONE switch, set the switch to TONE after your call is answered. Most public pay phones can be used to access our system.
Your call will be answered by an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System. You will be given a menu of services. Choose option 1 to begin the process and follow the system’s instructions. Sometimes the phone lines will be busy when you call. If your call is not answered by the IVR System on your first try, keep trying every few minutes. Once you are in line to speak with a representative, do not hang up and call back. That will only increase your wait time by putting you again at the back of the line.
How can I get help finding a new job?
A Division of Workforce Development (DWD) Missouri Career Center can assist you in finding work. When you file a new claim for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, a work registration is created. You may complete or update your work registration either in person at a local Missouri Career Center, or through the jobs.mo.gov website
When adding to or changing your work registration information, you will need to use your Social Security Number.
Do I have to report in person?
You may be required to report in person every four weeks to a DWD Career Center or other designated office. You may report any regular workday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Staff in the Missouri Career Centers cannot answer specific questions about your claim.
If required to report, failure to report at least every four weeks may result in UI benefits being denied. If you cannot report as instructed, go in as soon after your scheduled week as you can, and you will need to contact an RCC to explain why you are reporting late if you have already received a denial letter.
You also may be selected to receive special reemployment services under several programs offered through the DWD Career Centers. Failure to participate in these programs when selected may result in a denial or delay of payment of UI benefits.
How are benefits paid?
You must choose to receive benefits via direct deposit or through the Missouri Access MasterCard® debit card.
Direct Deposit: This is the easiest way to access your benefits using your current bank account or credit union. Simply complete a direct deposit application for either your savings or checking account. This can be done online from https://www.ui.labor.mo.gov/som, Change My Payment Method. You also can download and print an application here. If you have filed before, the direct deposit information from a previous claim will carry over. You do not need to enter your account information unless it has changed. You also can call your RCC to change your payment preferences.
Missouri Access MasterCard®: If you do not file for direct deposit you will receive the debit card and its information in the mail within two weeks of your claim being established. Receiving a card does not guarantee payment of UI benefits. Even if you are not eligible to receive benefits right away, keep your card through its expiration date in case you become eligible later. Losing your card will delay access to your benefits.
View Missouri Access Publications
What happens when I file a new claim?
The effective date of your claim will be the beginning (Sunday) of the week that you file. The DES will mail you a form called Notice of Initial Determination of Status as an Insured Worker. Even if the form shows that you are an insured worker, it does not mean that you will receive UI benefits. This form will show:
- Your weekly and maximum benefit amounts
- The beginning date of your claim
- Your base period
- The amount of wages reported by each employer by quarter in the base period.
After your new claim is filed, you must begin filing weekly certifications and, if required, search for work.
If you believe wages are listed incorrectly, some of your wages are missing, or if you disagree with the effective date of the claim, contact your area RCC by the date shown on the bottom of the form. Failure to respond by that date may cause you to lose the right to use these additional wages. You may need to provide proof of the correct wages, such as check stubs, W-2 statements, or other documents.
Even if you have asked the DES to look into the wages used on your claim, begin filing weekly certifications and continue to file for each week you are unemployed.
Will I be charged fees when I use my Missouri Access MasterCard®?
The easiest way to avoid incurring fees is to use either a Central Bank of Jefferson City or Allpoint ATM, or a Central Bank branch location displaying their dogwood logo. You can find your nearest location at www.mo-access.com. Or, you can choose to get cash back when making a purchase at many large retailers and grocery stores.
You can get one free withdrawal per week from a non-Allpoint or Central Bank ATM, then you will be charged $1.75 each time. ATM owners outside the network also will charge a fee. You also can take the card to a teller at any MasterCard® member bank or credit union for a free cash advance. To find out if your bank is a MasterCard® member, contact it directly.
|Purchase POS (PIN and Signature purchases)||$0.00|
|Purchase POS with Cash Back (PIN purchases)||$0.00|
|ATM Cash Withdrawal at Central Bank Locations||$0.00|
ATM Cash Withdrawal (Other than Central Bank or Allpoint Locations)¹*
ATM International Cash Withdrawal
ATM Balance Inquiry at Central Bank and Allpoint Locations
ATM Balance Inquiry (Other than Central Bank or Allpoint Locations) ¹
ATM Balance Inquiry International
Bank Teller Withdrawal Fee
Monthly Paper Statement
Electronic (ACH)) Funds Transfer from Card to Bank Account
Automated Voice Response**
|$0.50 per call|
ATM or Purchase Decline¹¹
Inactivity (charged monthly until the balance is $0 after 180 days on no activity defined as deposit, withdrawal, or purchase activity) You will only be charged if there is a balance in your debit account.
* Indicates a surcharge fee may apply from the ATM owner
How is eligibility determined?
When you file a new claim, we will review your work history to determine if you earned enough wages in insured work to establish a claim. Insured work is work done for one or more employers that are required to contribute to the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. Your claim benefit year is the one-year period that UI benefits are potentially available to you.
To be eligible, you must:
- Lose your job through no fault of your own OR quit with good cause related to the work or the employer.
- Make at least $2,250—at least $1,500 during one of the calendar quarters, and at least $750 during the remainder of the year—from an insured employer during your base period. (See chart below).
- AND your total base period wages must be at least 1.5 times your highest quarter wages.
- OR you must make at least $19,500 during two of the four base period quarters.
- If your hours were reduced from full-time to part-time, you also may be eligible for partial UI benefits. See the “Part-Time Work” Section.
- To remain eligible:
- You must report all wages earned each week, even if you won’t be paid until later. This includes tips, commissions, bonuses, show-up time, military reserve pay, board, and lodging.
- You must be able and available for work each week, meaning no illness, injury, or personal circumstances would keep you from working.
- Refusing an offer of work may result in denial of UI benefits.
- Unless otherwise directed, report in person at least once every four weeks to a Missouri Career Center or other designated office. The Career Centers offer free skills assessments, career readiness certificates, personal job search consultations, and many other helpful services.
If you are filing a claim now and filed one a year ago, you cannot requalify to be paid on the new claim unless you have worked after filing last year.
How are my benefits figured?
Your weekly benefit amount (WBA) is 4 percent of the average of your two highest quarters in the base period (highest quarter and second highest quarter quarter /2 x 0.04 = WBA). Missouri′s maximum WBA is $320.
Your maximum benefit amount (MBA) is the most you can receive in your benefit year. It is 20 times your WBA or one-third of your total base period wages, whichever is less. When calculating, your quarterly earnings are limited to 26 times your WBA.
What do I do after starting a claim?
Filing a new claim, or renewing an existing claim, is the first step in the unemployment process. After you have filed a new claim, or renewed an existing claim, you will need to file a weekly certification for each week and, if required, you also must search for work.
A claim week begins on Sunday and ends on Saturday. You must wait until the week is over before you make the weekly certification for benefits. Beginning on the Sunday after you file your initial or renewed claim, you should file your first weekly certification. Continue to file each week until you return back to work. You must file your weekly certification within 14 days from the end of the week (Saturday) you are claiming.
Internet: Visit www.moclaim.mo.gov. Make sure you complete the form and receive a confirmation page, or you will have to start again.
Telephone: Call the number for your area RCC. Your call will be answered by the automated (IVR) system. Choose the option of filing a claim, and answer the recorded questions, using 1 for “Yes” and 9 for “No”.
If you answer a question incorrectly, you will be given an opportunity to correct your answer. If you hang up before you hear that your claim has been accepted, you will have to call again and start over.
Whether using the Internet or telephone to file, you may only claim the weeks presented to you, which will not exceed the three prior weeks. If you have any problems or questions, call your area RCC. Once you have completed the weekly filing, you must contact your area RCC to change or correct an answer.
How do I make my weekly certification?
Follow these steps:
- Have your Social Security Number and your (Personal Identification Number) PIN available.
- If you worked and earned wages during the week you are claiming (including self-employment wages), or you received or will receive vacation, holiday, or W.A.R.N. pay for the week, be sure you know the gross amount (total dollars and cents before any deductions) of the pay before you file. These wages will be verified with the employer(s).
- If self-employed during the week for which you are filing, be sure you know how many hours you worked, even if you had no earnings. If you worked but had no earnings, contact your area RCC for assistance in filing.
Internet: Answer the questions and click “Submit”. You will receive a confirmation page to indicate your claim has been filed.
Telephone: Answer the questions until you hear: “Your weekly claim has been filed.”
- You must report all wages earned during the week even though you may not be paid until later.
- You must report tips, commissions, bonuses, show-up time, and military reserve drill pay.
- Board, lodging and any other payments not in cash or by check also must be reported.
- If your income for the week is from self-employment or National Guard drill, you need to discuss this with the DES each week. The DES will instruct you on how to answer.
- You also must be able and available to work full time each day. This means no illness, injury, or personal circumstances would keep you from working during the week claimed.
What is a waiting week?
The waiting week is the first week of your claim for which you are eligible for UI benefits but not paid these benefits. You must file a weekly certification for this week. You may receive compensation for the waiting week as the last payment on your regular UI claim.
When will I receive benefits?
If you are eligible and there are no issues, you can expect payment of your UI benefits within 18-22 days of filing your initial claim. If there are any issues with your claim, payment may be delayed several weeks while an investigation is conducted. Benefits will not arrive on the same day each week, and the DES will not mail you a notice when they process. Your benefits are subject to federal and state income taxes. Contact the IRS for more information.
The employers on which your claim is based, as well as your last employer are notified that you have filed a claim for UI benefits. These employers may protest if they have information they believe should keep you from receiving benefits.
Any situation that may keep you from receiving benefits is called an “issue”. If there is an issue, you will be sent a questionnaire or a notice for a telephone interview to give information about the issue. Even if you do complete the questionnaire or participate in the telephone interview, a determination will be made based upon the information available.
After all issues are resolved, and if you are eligible for UI benefits, payments are usually made the next working day after your weekly certification is received. Benefits will not arrive on the same day each week. You will not be mailed a notice when payment is made. Use the DES website at www.moclaim.mo.gov or automated IVR system to track payments and claim balance. There is never a fee for using the Division’s Internet or IVR system. For information on your Missouri Access MasterCard® balance, deposits. and other activity, go to www.mo-access.com (no fee) or call 888-775-3445 (one free call per week then 25 cents per call). Payment information is normally available one or two working days after you file the weekly certification.
Can benefits be denied?
You may be an insured worker and still be ineligible or disqualified for UI benefits. Some examples include: being discharged for misconduct connected with work, quitting your job for reasons not attributable to the work or employer, refusing a suitable offer of work, or not being able to work or available for work.
If you are denied UI benefits, you will receive a “Notice of Deputy’s Determination”. This determination will tell you why benefits are being denied. It also includes information on how your benefits may become payable and your appeal rights.
Can volunteer activities affect my unemployment benefits?
Volunteer activities are not only a way to serve your community, but can also be a successful strategy as part of your reemployment plan. Under Employment Security law, you must be able to work and available for full-time work. While volunteering you must continue to make an active and earnest search for work. You can be considered available for work while performing volunteer activities:
- If you are willing to stop the volunteer activity upon an offer of suitable work; OR
- Providing the volunteer activity does not occur during customary work hours for the type of work you are seeking.
Your unemployment benefits could be denied if you refuse an interview because it interferes with your volunteer activities.
To learn more about volunteer activities, visit the United We Serve website at www.serve.gov. If you have specific questions about how your volunteer activities might affect your unemployment, contact your Regional Claims Center.
What are my appeal rights?
If you disagree with a determination, you or your duly authorized agent may file an appeal. You may appeal if you believe the law was incorrectly applied or all the facts were not considered when the determination was made. If you do not understand a determination or notice, contact your RCC.
Your appeal rights and time limits are explained on each determination. If you do not file within the time limit, you may lose your right to appeal. Generally, only circumstances beyond your reasonable control will be considered good cause for late filing. You can file the appeal by mail or fax to the address listed on the determination.
While waiting for the appeals hearing and decision, you must continue to file as usual for each week you are unemployed, or you will not receive UI benefits for those weeks, even if the results are in your favor.
Your employer also may file an appeal to a determination that finds you eligible to receive UI benefits. An employer’s appeal will not cause your benefits to stop, unless the employer wins the appeal. It is important that you participate in the hearing on the employer’s appeal to present your side of the case. Without your testimony, the employer may win the appeal and you would have to pay back any benefits received. For more information on how to file an appeal, click here.
Do I need to search for work?
When you file your initial or renewed claim, the DES will give you the minimum number of employers to contact for work each week. Make at least that many contacts. Keep a written record of the employers you contact each week for work for auditing purposes. Your work search is subject to verification. Download the Work Search Record (MODES-4736). Do not mail your work search to the DES or take it when reporting to a DWD Career Center unless requested to do so.
Failure to apply or accept suitable employment offered through the DES, designated staff of a state or state-controlled public employment office, or former employer may result in denial of benefits.
How can I get a work search waiver?
If you were temporarily laid off and have a recall date within eight weeks of the date you became unemployed, or you are in school or a training program that is approved in advance by the DES, this requirement may be waived. Contact your RCC.
If your recall date is after 8 weeks but within 16 weeks of your last day worked, your employer must submit a written request to the DES Director for an extended work search waiver. The request should be on company letterhead and must include: the employer’s account number, your name, the last four digits of your Social Security Number, last day worked, and recall date. Sign and date, and fax to 573‑751‑5040, or mail to:Benefits Section
Division of Employment Security
P.O. Box 3100
Jefferson City, MO 65102-3100
How do I renew my claim?
Your claim for UI benefits will become inactive if you do not file a weekly certification within 28 calendar days (four weeks) from the end (Saturday) of the last week you claimed. Your claim must be renewed or reopened if it becomes inactive. This must be done before weekly certifications can be filed. Whether filing by the Internet or telephone, your renewed claim will be started the Sunday of the week you file the renewal.
Internet: Visit www.moclaim.mo.gov. Be sure to print and keep the confirmation page.
Telephone: The Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System will answer your call. After entering basic information, you will speak to a claims representative. Be sure to have the name and address of your last employer, even if it was part-time or temporary, and the last day you actually worked. Call between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
If you have not filed a weekly certification for three weeks (21 calendar days) and you plan to claim the fourth week, call the RCC before 5 p.m. Central Time on Friday of the fourth week for filing instructions.
How do I change my address?
If your address changes, update it when you file your weekly certification, by internet, or call your RCC and select ′Change My Address′. It is very important that the DES have your correct mailing address. You will not receive important documents and notices without it. The DES does not forward mail, and any address changes made only with the Post Office do not change your address with the DES.
What if my name changes?
If you change your name due to marriage, divorce, or some other reason, you need to call your Regional Claims Center so that we can change your records accordingly. Choose option 2 then option 3.
How can I get information about my claim?
View Unemployment Claim Status online or use the DES automated telephone (IVR) system. The website and IVR System are available 24 hours a day for claim information. The IVR system can provide information on the previous three weeks including: if UI benefits were paid, why they were not (in some cases), and the status of a pending appeal. The Website also has information on past benefit year claims. You can print this summary if you need proof of your unemployment for any reason. Both options are faster than waiting to speak with a claims representative.
If your question is about UI benefits, allow 10 working days from the date you filed your weekly certification before contacting the DES.
For information on your Missouri Access MasterCard® balance, deposits and other activity, visit www.mo-access.com (no fee), or call 888-775-3445 (one free call per week then 25 cents each call).
Can I work part-time and receive benefits?
Yes, you may receive some UI benefits for a week if you work less than full time. You must continue to look for and be able to work full time. You must report your gross wages (wages before deductions) earned each week and not just take home pay.
The benefits paid when working less than full time will be reduced: Take your weekly wages, subtract $20 or 20 percent of your weekly benefit amount (WBA), whichever is greater. That amount is your deduction, which will be subtracted from your WBA and rounded down to an even dollar amount. See example below. Any withholding for federal taxes, etc., is taken from this amount.
|Weekly Benefit Amount:
Allowable Wages: $279.00 x 20%=
|Wages for the Week (Rounded up to the next whole dollar)
Minus Allowable Wages of $20 or 20%
Wages to be Deducted from Your Weekly Benefit Amount
Pay Amount for the Week: $279.00 WBA - $46.20 =
Pay Amount to You (Rounded down to the next lower dollar):
What do I do if I go back to work?
If you go back to work full-time, stop filing weekly certifications. Or, if you are earning enough wages part-time that you are not getting any weekly benefits, you should stop claiming. Your claim will automatically close after 28 days.
What happens if I am overpaid?
The DES discovers improper payments in various ways. If the DES finds you were employed and did not report wages or reported wages incorrectly and received benefits, it will investigate. You must provide the information needed for the DES to determine what action to take.
If you receive UI benefits to which you are not entitled, you must repay them, even if someone else made the mistake that caused the incorrect payment. The DES will inform you why and by how much you were overpaid. If you believe the notice is incorrect, you have the right to appeal.
You can repay an overpayment in a lump sum, or you can request a payment plan. If you are claiming benefits, all or part of the weekly benefit may be applied to the overpayment.
It is to your advantage to repay overpayments as soon as possible. Otherwise, the DES will recover the amount due from your future benefits, state income tax return, and lottery winnings. This means you will be without benefits when you need them.
If you deliberately make a false statement or withhold information to receive benefits, your benefit rights can be canceled, you may face penalties of up to 100 percent of the overpaid amount, and you can be arrested, fined, and imprisoned.
What if I try a new job, but it just doesnt work out?
If you take a job that would be considered “unsuitable work” as defined in the Missouri Employment Security Law, and quit within 28 days of the first day of work, you may not be disqualified. This exception allows you to try a job that you might otherwise have turned down without losing your right to benefits.
Will other income reduce my benefits?
Vacation, holiday, and WARN pay reduce your weekly benefit amount (WBA) in the same way as wages.
Severance or termination pay or Social Security payments do not reduce your WBA.
Pensions may reduce your UI benefits.
Examples of pensions that may reduce your benefits are military retirement (including disability), union pension, private employer pension, federal civilian pension, and state, county, or city pension. Tell your claims representative if you are receiving a pension. If it affects your benefits, you will be notified.
Can I use wages I earned in another state, the military, or the federal government?:
If you worked in another state, worked for a federal employer, or had active military service in the last 18 months, you cannot file the initial application for benefits online. You must file through your RCC.
The DES has to request wage information from another state, the federal government, or the military to be used on your claim. If you received military wages, the DES also will need your DD-214 Member 4 copy. If any employers or wages are missing when you receive your Notice of Insured Worker Status, contact your area RCC.
What are Extended Benefits?
When either the national or Missouri unemployment rate exceeds a certain level, you may qualify for additional weeks of benefits after you exhaust all regular UI benefits. The DES will notify you if these benefits are available.
What is Trade Adjustment Assistance?
If you lost your job due to foreign trade, you may be eligible for assistance under the Trade Act from the U.S. Department of Labor. This includes training, training allowances, job search and relocation assistance, and other support services. Visit www.doleta.gov/tradeact or contact your local DWD Career Center for information.
Are my benefits taxable?
Unemployment Insurance benefits are subject to federal and state income taxes. If you had taxes withheld from your claim and did not receive a Form 1099-G, click here to print a new one. In 2009, as a part of the American Recovery and Reinstatement Act, the first $2,400 of UI benefits is not taxable.
Would an individual be eligible to receive unemployment benefits if they relocated and left their job to accompany their military spouse who completed his/her service and is moving to seek employment elsewhere?
No, this law only applies to service or guard members on active duty.
Would an individual be eligible to receive unemployment benefits if they relocated and left their job to be with family members because their military spouse was called to serve overseas or elsewhere?
No, the law only applies to relocations with the spouse to a new residence.
Do individuals leaving their job to accompany their military spouse need to provide advanced notification to their employer in order to receive unemployment benefits?
The law does not address this. It is common courtesy to provide notification to the employer, but not required for unemployment eligibility.
If an individual is leaving their job and relocating to accompany their military spouse in another state or country, would they be eligible for unemployment benefits?
The individual would be eligible to receive unemployment benefits if he/she remained employed as long as was reasonable prior to the move.
What is a benefit claim?
A claim may be filed when a worker loses his/her job through no fault of his/her own, usually due to a layoff. Benefits paid are then charged against the account of the liable employer. This raises the employer’s experience rate.
The UI benefits paid when working less than full time will be the difference between the claimant′s weekly benefit amount (WBA) and that part of the claimant′s wages for the week thatare in excess of $20 or 20 percent of the WBA, whichever is greater.
When and for how long can benefits be claimed?
When a worker files a new claim and was paid sufficient wages to qualify for UI benefits, an effective date of the claim is established as the Sunday before the date the claim was filed. This effective date also establishes the claimant’s benefit year (BY) as the one-year period beginning with such effective date. A maximum benefit amount (MBA) is established for the claim (up to WBA x 20). The claimant can file for UI benefits until the MBA is exhausted during the BY. This eligibility period can be extended by federal law.
How is eligibility determined?
Benefits paid to a claimant during a BY are based on wages paid in the base period, which is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters immediately preceding the effective date of the claim.
In order to qualify as an insured worker, a claimant must:
- Lose his/her job through no fault of the claimant OR quit for a valid reason related to the work or the employer.
- Make at least $2,250—at least $1,500 during one of the calendar quarters, and at least $750 during the remainder of the year—from an insured employer during the base period (see chart above).
- AND his/her total base period wages must be at least 1.5 times his/her highest quarter wages.
- OR he/she must make at least $19,500 during two of the four quarters.
In order to remain eligible to receive UI benefits, a claimant also must be able to work and available for full-time work. In order to be considered available for work, the claimant must be actively and earnestly seeking employment. A claimant may be ineligible if unemployed because of a suspension for misconduct connected with work, a stoppage of work due to a labor dispute or while the claimant is receiving other remuneration, such as vacation pay, Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN), pay, holiday pay or employer pension.
If the DES finds the claimant was discharged for misconduct connected with work, the disqualification can only be terminated if the claimant earns six times his/her WBA in insured work after the date of discharge. If a claimant is disqualified on a subsequent discharge, the claimant shall be required to earn wages in an amount equal to or in excess of six times the claimant′s WBA for each disqualification.
If the claimant voluntarily left employment without good cause attributable to the employer or to the work, he/she may be disqualified until other employment is secured and at least 10 times the WBA in insured work is earned. This same disqualification may apply if the claimant refused to apply for or accept suitable employment offered through the DES, designated staff of a state or state-controlled public employment office, or a former employer.
How much can claimants receive?
The claimant′ WBA is calculated at 4 percent of the average of the two highest quarterly wages in the base period, not to exceed $320. All weekly benefits are rounded down to an even dollar.
The MBA is computed at one-third of the wage credits in the base period or 20 times the WBA, whichever is less. Wage credits used in each quarter to calculate the MBA are limited to a maximum of $8,320 (26 x $320 = $8,320).
What are Extended Benefits (EB) and Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC)?
When the rate of insured unemployment in Missouri equals or exceeds levels specified in the law, an eligible claimant may be paid additional benefits through federal programs. The cost of this is subsidized by the federal government.
Will the employer be notified when a claim is filed?
When a new claim is filed and the DES finds the claimant has had sufficient wages to qualify for UI benefits, a notice of the claim is mailed to the last employing unit for which the claimant worked and to each employer in the claimant′s base period. Should a claimant renew this claim for UI benefits at any time during this BY, a similar notice is mailed to the last employing unit for which the claimant worked and to any base period employer that has filed a request to be notified the next time the claim is renewed.
How can the employer protest the claim?
If an employer has information that it believes would cause an individual to be held ineligible or disqualified from receiving UI benefits, it should immediately file a protest with the DES Regional Claims Center (RCC) where the claim was filed. The protest can be filed by mail or by fax. The location of the assigned RCC is shown on the claim notice. A protest must be filed within 10 days after the claim notice was mailed. If filed by mail, the U.S. postmark or private meter date is used to determine the date of filing. If there is both a postmark date and a private meter date, the postmark date is used. If there is no U.S. postmark or meter date, the date received by the DES will be the controlling date.
When filing a protest, the employer should provide all available facts regarding to the case, including relevant dates, information on payments such as holiday, vacation, WARN pay, pension, or etc. This will assure that all facts are considered by the deputy in making the determination. It also will permit the deputy to make a determination without taking up the employer′s time to secure a second statement.
The following summary gives the most common grounds for an employer protest and the documentation the deputy would need for each:
- If the claimant quit without good cause attributable to work:
- What the claimant said or did to indicate an intention to quit. If an individual simply failed to show up for work, make a statement to that effect giving the date last worked;
- Complaints made by the claimant concerning the work, requests for transfer to other work, or for leave of absence;
- Any statements by the claimant about the reason for leaving and future plans;
- The date(s) the claimant failed to report if called back after a temporary layoff;
- The date(s) the claimant failed to report if called back after sick leave, vacations, etc;
- The terms of any applicable retirement agreement according to a union contract or employer policy;
- If employer is a temporary help firm, did claimant contact the temporary help firm after assignment ended and prior to filing for UI benefits for reassignment? Was the claimant informed of the obligation to contact the employer upon completion of the assignment and that failure to do so may result in denial of benefits? If contact was made, give date of contact and result of contact;
- Any attempts the employer made to accommodate the claimant’s requests or to address any issues the claimant complained about;
- Any requests the employer made for documentation and the responses received from the claimant.
- If the claimant refused work:
- Evidence to show that the work offer was bona fide and was communicated to the claimant, including how the claimant was notified, type of work, rate of pay, hours of work, location of job, date to report, etc;
- Reason given by the claimant for refusing the offer and the date the job was refused;
- Any facts about the claimant that would help the claims deputy in deciding whether the individual was justified in refusing.
- If you have work available for this claimant, you may offer it at any time during the claimant′s BY. Contact the RCC serving your area or indicate on the claim notice and return to the address on the notice.
- If the claimant was discharged for drug and alcohol related issues:
Section 288.045 of the Missouri Revised Statutes addresses discharges due to a positive drug and/or alcohol test and what is necessary to find misconduct under this section of the law.
- If the claimant was discharged for misconduct in connection with work:
- The date claimant was discharged.
- All incidents of unsatisfactory conduct that played a part in the disciplinary actions, such as warnings and reprimands, gross negligence, absenteeism, willful inefficiency, dishonesty, etc
- What was said to the former employee and what the employee said or did.
- The employer′s policy regarding the incident that led to discharge and how the claimant would have been aware of this policy.
- If the claimant is laid off for lack of work:
You should not protest a claim based on a separation for this reason.
- If the claimant’s ability to work and availability to work is in question:
- Before UI benefits will be paid each week, the claims deputy must find that the claimant is able to work, available for work, and actively and earnestly seeking work.
- The requirement of making an active and earnest search for work may be waived for those individuals who are unemployed through no fault of his/her own and have a definite recall date within eight weeks of the first day of his/her unemployment. Employers may request in writing to extend the work search waiver for recall dates beyond eight weeks, but not to exceed 16 weeks. These requests will be granted at the discretion of the DES Director.
- Claimants are required to register as job applicants with the Division of Workforce Development and are thereby exposed to job orders that employers file.
- If there are payments for holiday, vacation, WARN, or pension:
Holiday or vacation pay:
- Number of hours of holiday or vacation pay and amount of pay;
- Period pay will cover, if designated;
- Anticipated date holiday or vacation will be paid; and
- Normal pay dates.
- Period of time pay will cover;
- Amount of pay;
- Normal weekly or hourly rate of pay; and
- Normal number of hours worked each week.
- Amount of pension before deductions;
- When pension will start;
- Percentage of contribution to the pension fund by the employer; and
- Whether the wages (base period wages) used to establish the UI claim also were used in the calculation of the pension.
What happens after an employer files a protest?
A deputy gathers all facts in regard to the claim and issues a determination showing whether the claimant is disqualified or eligible to receive UI benefits. A copy of this determination is mailed to the employer filing the timely protest. If the determination results in a denial of benefits to the claimant for any reason, the employer will be notified of the date the claimant becomes eligible.
When the deputy′s determination disqualifies a claimant as a result of separation from work or because of refusal to accept work with the employer, the account of a contributory employer will not be charged with any subsequent UI benefits paid the claimant based on wages paid prior to the date of the separation or job refusal. There is no account charge protection for reimbursable employers. They will be liable for all UI benefit payments.
A deputy′s determination involving only an eligibility issue does not relieve any employer′s account of benefit charges for weeks outside the specific ineligible period.
Can an employer appeal a deputy’s determination?
If an employer disagrees with a determination, it may file an appeal. It also may appeal if it believes that the law was incorrectly applied or that all the facts were not considered when the determination was made. An appeal may be filed by any employee of a corporation, partnership, or other business entity authorized by law. An appeal also can be filed by a licensed attorney.
Appeal rights and time limits are explained on each determination. If an appeal is not filed within the time limit, the employer may lose its right to appeal. The time limits for filing can only be extended for "good cause." Generally, only circumstances beyond one’s reasonable control will be considered good cause for late filing.
After an appeal is filed, the Appeals Section will notify involved parties of the date, time, and method of the hearing. All interested parties taking part in the hearing will be allowed to provide sworn testimony. A written decision will be mailed to all interested parties after the hearing. The decision may affirm, reverse, modify, or remand the deputy′s determination.
If the employer is dissatisfied with the referee′s decision, it may carry the case through subsequent appeal stages to the Missouri Labor and Industrial Relations Commission and then to the courts for a final decision.
What is a waiting week?
A claimant who is determined eligible for UI benefits must serve a waiting week before being paid benefits. Only one waiting week is required during the BY. After serving the waiting week, the claimant is paid UI benefits for subsequent weeks of total or partial unemployment if not disqualified and the deputy finds that all the eligibility requirements of the law have been met. The waiting week may be paid at the end of the regular UI claim.
What is an overpayment?
If a claimant has received UI benefits and later receives legally required back pay for the same period, an overpayment results. If an overpayment is established under these circumstances, the employer is required to withhold the amount of the overpayment from the back pay. This amount then is paid to the DES by the employer. The employer should call the DES to find out the amount of the overpayment.
Example: A claimant is receiving UI benefits for the first three weeks of January 2009. A court determines that due to an existing contract, the claimant must receive his/her regular pay for those three weeks. The employer contacts the DES who determines what was paid out in UI benefits and the employer will withhold those amounts from the back pay to reimburse the DES for the overpayment as the claimant is not entitled to those benefits after the fact.
Overpayments also can result from claimants not reporting new earnings. The DES conducts a Benefit Payment Control program to detect and prevent improper payment (overpayment) of UI benefits. The primary means of detecting overpayments are cross-matches with new-hire data and quarterly wages reported for claimants by employers. When a match is made, the DES sends an Audit and Investigation form to the employer to confirm whether or not UI benefits were overpaid.
It is very important for an employer to complete and return the Audit and Investigation forms providing wages earned during each week the worker claimed UI benefits.
Overpayment of UI benefits can affect an employer′s tax rate. Benefits charged to the employer′s account as well as the balance of the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund are factors that can raise an employer′s tax rate. Employer taxes are deposited into the Trust Fund, from which UI benefits are paid. Claimants are required to pay back overpaid UI benefits, and payments are deposited back into the Trust Fund.
When the DES determines a claimant for UI benefits failed to report earnings, the claimant will be required to repay those benefits. Some overpayments are the result of honest mistakes. However, if the claimant committed fraud in obtaining benefits, he/she can be assessed an additional monetary penalty, as well as possibly having his/her benefit rights canceled and being arrested, fined, and imprisoned.
What penalties can be assessed against employers?
A penalty may be assessed when an employer commits fraud by misrepresenting, misstating, or failing to disclose information in order to deny UI benefits. For a first occurrence of fraud, the amount of penalty is 25 percent of the amount of benefits denied. The amount of penalty goes up to 100 percent of the amount of benefits denied for subsequent occurrences of fraud.
An employer also can be found guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to a fine or imprisonment in the county jail for making a false statement or knowingly failing to disclose a material fact to prevent or reduce the payment of UI benefits.
What is a Mass Claim?
The Electronic Mass Claims Filing System is available to employers during a temporary mass layoff. Employee information provided by the employer allows the DES to quickly and efficiently file initial and renewed UI claims on behalf of employees. This filing is available when at least 20 workers are totally unemployed. The temporary layoff cannot exceed eight consecutive weeks. For additional information, contact the UI Programs Section at 573-751-3641.
What is the Shared Work Program?
The Shared Work Unemployment Compensation Program is an alternative to layoffs for employers faced with a reduction in available work. It allows an employer to divide the available work among a specified group of affected employees instead of a layoff. These employees receive a portion of their UI benefits while working reduced hours. To participate, an employer must complete an application for the affected unit within the company, and submit it to the DES for approval. Learn more.
NOTE: The above Q&A are only general guidelines. An official determination of eligibility cannot be made unless an unemployment claim is established and an investigation is conducted.