Missouri’s Unemployment Modernization Effort Rejected
Labor Department Director Issues Statement on USDOL’s Decision
In August, the Missouri Labor Department received notice from the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) that unemployment modernization legislation passed this year will not qualify the state to receive $133 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act incentive payments for Missouri’s unemployment system. Department Director Larry Rebman issued the following statement on the decision by the USDOL:
“Earlier this year, the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations worked with the Missouri General Assembly and stakeholders in the business community to craft legislation that would allow new categories of unemployed Missourians to receive benefits funded by the Recovery Act. That legislation included a compromise legislative renewal requirement. Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Labor has determined that the inclusion of that provision prevents Missouri from qualifying for Recovery Act funding for the program. I am disappointed by this decision, which will prevent the flow of benefits to certain jobless Missourians despite the work done by this administration and a bi-partisan majority in the legislature to pass provisions that modernize our unemployment system.”
The General Assembly passed HB 1075 in May 2009, modifying Missouri’s unemployment laws to meet federal requirements. That bill also enabled Missourians who exhaust their benefits to receive up to an additional 20 weeks of unemployment benefits. That language has been approved by the USDOL, and to date, the Missouri Department of Labor has distributed more than $27 million to unemployed Missourians.