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Help Topics for Unemployed Workers

Help Topics for Unemployed Workers

Eligibility

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.

Special Notes:

  • If your hours were reduced from full-time to part-time, you also may be eligible for partial unemployment insurance (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.

Benefit Amount

  • Your weekly benefit amount (WBA) is 4 percent of the average of your two highest quarters during the base period (highest quarter + second highest /2 x 0.04 = WBA). The maximum WBA is $320.
  • Your maximum benefit amount (MBA) is the most you can receive in a benefit year. It is 20 times your WBA, or one-third of your base period wages, whichever is less. When figuring MBA using either method, the base period wages for each quarter are limited to 26 times your WBA.

Child Support Garnishments

The Division of Child Support Enforcement has the ability to intercept up to 50 percent of a claimant's weekly benefits if they are delinquent on their child support payments. The Division of Employment Security does not have the ability to alter, remove, or add child support intercepts. Any questions regarding the interception of unemployment benefits for Child Support should be directed to Child Support Enforcement at 866-313-9960.

Ways to Receive Benefits

  1. Direct Deposit: Click here to fill out the Division of Employment Security's (DES) electronic form or call your Regional Claims Center (RCC) to submit account information.
    OR
  2. Missouri Access MasterCard®: If you do not choose to use direct deposit, you will receive your UI benefits on the prepaid debit card. It will be mailed to you with instructions within two weeks of establishing your claim.
MO Access Debit Card

To avoid withdrawal fees when using the debit card, use either a Central Bank of Jefferson City ATM displaying their dogwood logo, or Allpoint ATM. You can find your nearest location by visiting 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. You will then be charged $1.75 each time you withdraw. The ATM owner also will charge a fee both times. You also can take the card to a teller at any Central Bank branch location or MasterCard® member bank or credit union for a cash advance. The advance carries a $1.25 fee. To find out if you bank is a MasterCard® member, contact them directly.

Maintaining Your Claim

In order to remain eligible for UI benefit payments there are a number of steps that you must complete each week. A failure to complete them may result in the denial of benefits. If you are a member of a union with a hiring hall, you can waive step 2. If you have a recall date within eight weeks (or 16 weeks if requested by your employer and approved by the Division Director) , you can waive steps 2 and 3.

  1. File your weekly request for payment every week as early as Sunday.
    • Use this site or call your RCC and use the automated telephone filing system. Be sure to update your current address if it has changed.
    • Have your Social Security Number, your (Personal Identification Number (PIN), your total earnings before deductions and any vacation/holiday pay information ready.
    • If your weekly request for payment is filed using the Internet, you will receive confirmation upon completion. Keep this for your records.
    • In order to continue receiving payments, you must repeat these steps every week you wish to receive UI benefits. If you start working full-time again, stop filing. Your claim will close automatically after 28 days.
  2. Report in person, if required, to a Missouri Division of Workforce Development (DWD) Career Center or other designated office for reemployment services. You will be notified by mail if required to report.
    • Visit http://jobs.mo.gov and click Locate a Missouri Career Center to find a location. Be sure to have your UI PIN with you when you report.
    • DWD Staff will help you register for their online career search resources.
    • Get help with résumé writing and participate in mock interviews to help you get back to work faster.
    • Career Center staff cannot answer specific questions about your claim.
  3. Search actively for work.
    • Make enough contacts each week with potential employers to meet the required number you were given when you registered (this number varies according to your area). Failure to make your required job contacts may result in denial of UI benefits.
    • Record all of your job contacts on the “Work Search Record” in case the DES requests it. Get the form here.

When to Expect Benefits

If you are eligible, you can expect to start receiving UI benefit payments within 18-22 days of your initial claim filing. If there are any issues with your claim, payment may be delayed several weeks while an investigation is conducted to determine your eligibility to receive benefits. 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 Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for more information.

Tracking Your Claim & Benefits

Claims – Click My Account/Claim Status or call the Regional Claims Center for your area and when asked for the purpose of your call, say Claim Inquiry. These resources are available 24 hours a day to see if unemployment benefits have been paid, when they have been paid and how they have been paid. To see if benefits have been released to your debit card, check the DES resources first. Benefits are normally available on your debit card after 5:30 p.m. on the day they are released (Monday - Friday).

Benefits – To check your debit card balance and view your entire transaction history visit www.mo-access.com, or call 888-775-3445. You are only allowed three free calls per week and will be charged 50 cents per call after that. The Internet is always free.

Payment information is available two business days after you file your weekly request for payment for benefits.

The Appeal Process

You may be disqualified from receiving UI benefits if you’ve been discharged for misconduct connected with work, quit for reasons not attributable to work or your employer, refused a suitable work offer, or are not able or available to work. You also may be determined ineligible for not having sufficient wages in the base period. You have a right to appeal any decision denying you benefits if you do not agree with the circumstances.

  • You will receive a “Notice of Deputy’s Determination” in the mail.
  • You have 30 days to file an appeal. The determination will list the date by which you need to file your appeal. All appeals must be filed by mail or fax. There is no form to use. You must submit your signed appeal in writing. You cannot file an appeal by phone. You must continue to file weekly request for payment during the appeal process, or you cannot be paid even if the decision is in your favor.
  • Your employer also has the right to appeal if he/she disagrees with a determination. You will receive notice if this happens. It is important that you participate in all hearings concerning your claim in order to give your testimony.
  • Most appeals hearings are over the phone, but you have the right to an in-person hearing if you choose.
  • For more information on appeals and how to file an appeal, click here.

Overpayments & Fraud

If you receive UI benefits to which you were not entitled, you must repay them, even if the mistake was not your fault. DES will notify you if there is an overpayment. You may pay the amount due in a lump sum or set up a payment plan. If you do not voluntarily repay an amount that you were overpaid through no fault of your own, then DES will recover the amount owed by taking any UI benefits you may become eligible for in the future until the overpayment has been completely repaid.  If you do not voluntarily repay an amount overpaid to you because of your intentional nondisclosure or misrepresentation of material facts, then in addition to taking future UI benefits, DES may establish judicial liens on your property, garnish your wages, and intercept your federal and state income tax returns and lottery winnings. If you deliberately misrepresent facts to claim UI benefits, this is considered fraud, and you may also face canceled benefits, fines, or prison.

Waiting Week

The waiting week is the first week of your claim for which you are eligible for UI benefits, but not paid. You must file a weekly request for payment for this week. You may receive compensation for the waiting week as the last payment on your regular UI claim.

Part-Time Work

Part-Time Work and Partial Benefits

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. Check out the DES online partial benefit calculator.

Example:  
Weekly Benefit Amount:
Allowable Wages: $279.00 x 20%=
$279.00
$55.80
 
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):
$102.00
-55.80
$46.20
$232.80
$232.00

Trying Out a New Job

If you take a new job and quit within 28 days because it was considered “unsuitable work” under Missouri Employment Security Law, you may still be eligible for UI benefits. You must report this employment and separation. The DES will determine suitability.

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.

Contact

Division of Employment Security
P.O. Box 59
Jefferson City, MO 65104-0059
Phone: 573-751-3215
Fax: 573-751-9730

Claimant's E-mail: [email protected]
Employer's E-mail: [email protected]
Appeals E-mail: [email protected]