Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information
- The Division of Employment Security does not charge a fee to file for unemployment. Read more here.
- The Division of Employment Security does not take in-person unemployment claims at its offices. You may apply online or check your claim status at uinteract.labor.mo.gov
5/26/2020 - Check back often for updated information as conditions change.
Due to the high volume of Unemployment Insurance claims, if you do not currently have a Missouri Access Debit Card, we strongly encourage any claimant with a bank account to select Direct Deposit as your benefit payment method. At this time, it is the most time-efficient method to receive payment. Due to extremely high call volumes, the Missouri Access card provider is experiencing longer than normal wait times to answer calls. If you need to check the balance on your MoAccess debit card, ask how to use the card, or have any other card-related questions, you can access your card account information at www.mo-access.com. If you need to check the status of your unemployment claim, please access UInteract.labor.mo.gov. UInteract can quickly give you information about the status of your claim, weekly payments, claim balance, and much more.
Director Hui answered many common unemployment questions and gave tips to employers and employees during a recent press conference. Click HERE to watch the clip.
For Employers: If you are an employer and need more information on the services available through the Missouri Division of Employment Security (DES), please click:
- Filing a Contribution & Wage Report,
- Shared Work Program - a lay-off aversion program
- Filing a Mass Claim – Expedite filing multiple claims on behalf of your employees
- Tax representatives are available to assist employers by phone Monday – Friday from 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM by calling 573-751-1995.
Or to contact a tax representative by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- If this is your first time filing for unemployment, please read our Information for Workers brochure and watch this video on unemployment basics. You can also visit our video library for more information at labor.mo.gov/des/videos.
- Visit UInteract to file for unemployment and access our video gallery at uinteract.labor.mo.gov, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- To contact a Regional Claims Center representative click here.
Regional Claims Center representatives are available by phone Monday – Friday from 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM by calling:
Jefferson City 573-751-9040
Kansas City 816-889-3101
St. Louis 314-340-4950
Outside Local Calling Area 800-320-2519
UInteract (uinteract.labor.mo.gov) is an easy to use mobile-friendly online Unemployment Insurance application that is available to workers and employers 24/7. Ninety percent of claimants are able to file online, without assistance.
If you need more information on Unemployment Insurance:
- Visit the Missouri Division of Employment Security website at labor.mo.gov/DES.
- Visit the Unemployment Video Library at labor.mo.gov/DES/videos
Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Unemployment Insurance Benefits
Questions and Answers
Question 1: Can I quit my job to collect unemployment and the $600 weekly FPUC payment?
Answer: Missouri’s regular unemployment insurance program continues to be in effect. Under Missouri unemployment law, most people who are currently employed and quit are not eligible for unemployment benefits. If an employer offers sick leave and/or other leave or remote work options to address COVID-19 in lieu of layoffs, then a person who quits on his/her own volition would not qualify for unemployment benefits. The US Department of Labor’s (USDOL’s) guidance states that general fear of COVID-19 will not support continuation of unemployment benefits under regular unemployment or any of the federally funded programs available under the CARES Act. If an employer provides the employee with suitable work, and the employee quits, then unemployment benefits will cease. The DES has developed a portal for employers to submit information about employees who quit their jobs. Employers would need to login to UInteract at uinteract.labor.mo.gov, click on “Benefits” and then on “Work Offer Refusal Detail.” Instructions can be found on a Help button on the Work Offer Refusal Detail Screen. Click here for instructions to find the detail screen and template. Employers may complete the Work Offer Refusal Detail Screen or upload a completed Excel template provided on the site. Employers should report quits or work refusals as soon as possible.
Quitting without good cause to obtain additional funds under the regular unemployment program or the CARES Act qualifies as fraud. If an individual obtains benefits through fraud, the individual is ineligible for any additional benefit payments, must pay back the benefits received and is subject to criminal prosecution. An employee notice poster is available here.
Question 2: What if an employee refuses to return to work? Will they still be eligible for unemployment benefits?
Answer: Missourians who have been placed on a temporary layoff related to COVID-19 but refuse to return to work when recalled by their employer will lose unemployment benefits, except for certain circumstances including:
- If you have tested positive for COVID-19 and are experiencing symptoms;
- If you have recovered but it caused medical complications rendering you unable to perform essential job duties;
- If a member of your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
- If you are providing care for a member of your household who was diagnosed with COVID-19;
- If you do not have childcare due to COVID-19 reasons; or
- If you do not have transportation to your place of work because of COVID-19.
Employees in any of these positions are strongly encouraged to work with their employer in the best way to handle the situation to return to work including any availability for working remotely.
The US Department of Labor’s (USDOL’s) guidance states that general fear of COVID-19 will not support continuation of unemployment benefits under regular unemployment or any of the federally funded programs available under the CARES Act. If an employer provides the employee with suitable work, and the employee chooses not to return to work, then unemployment benefits will cease. The DES has developed a portal for employers to submit information about employees who refuse to return to work or quit their jobs. Employers would need to login to UInteract at uinteract.labor.mo.gov, click on “Benefits” and then on “Work Offer Refusal Detail.” Instructions can be found on a Help button on the Work Offer Refusal Detail Screen. Click here for instructions to find the detail screen and template. Employers may complete the Work Offer Refusal Detail Screen or upload a completed Excel template provided on the site. Alternatively, the employers have the option to provide employee work refusal information without having to login to UInteract by clicking here . Employers should report quits or work refusals as soon as possible.
Question 3: What do I do if I suspect that someone I know is fraudulently receiving unemployment benefits?
Answer: The DES appreciates all tips regarding individuals fraudulently receiving benefits. To report UI claims fraud, please email: ReportUIFraud@labor.mo.gov, or call 573-751-4058 and select option 4. Due to strict DES confidentiality laws, we cannot confirm or deny an investigation initiated by a UI Fraud submission or disclose information about an employer or claimant. For additional information, visit labor.mo.gov/DES/report_fraud and click here to read a fraud alert from the US Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General.
Question 4: My employer has called me back to work. Do I still qualify for unemployment or the $600 supplement? How do I notify DES and close my account?
Answer: You may or may not be eligible for partial unemployment and the $600 federal supplement. If you go back to work full-time, you don’t need to notify DES. Just simply stop requesting payments and your claim will automatically close after 28 days.
Whether working full-time, part-time or temporary, remember to answer the first question on your weekly request for payment honestly and correctly. “Did you do any work during the week?” If you are working part-time, you may still be eligible for partial unemployment benefits for the week. Report the wages you earned during the week, regardless of when you are paid; if you worked at all from Sunday through Saturday, report your total earnings when filing your weekly request for payment. To do that, simply add the total number of hours worked between Sunday and Saturday and multiply that by your hourly rate of pay; report the total earnings for the week you are requesting payment. Remember total earnings is your gross pay, not the net amount you take home; it is the amount before any deductions for taxes or benefits. For example, if you worked 15 hours between Sunday and Saturday and make $10 an hour, you should report $150 (15 hours x $10) as your earnings for the week. Be sure to add tips or commission. If you are eligible for even one dollar in benefit payments during that week, you may receive your partial unemployment benefit and the additional $600 federal supplement. If you are not eligible for any benefits, you will not be receiving the $600 federal supplement. Misreporting or underreporting earnings to obtain additional funds under the regular unemployment program or the CARES Act qualifies as fraud. If an individual obtains benefits through fraud, the individual is ineligible for any additional benefit payments, must pay back the benefits received and is subject to criminal prosecution.
If you wish to estimate your weekly partial benefit amount when working part-time, you can use our partial benefit calculator at labor.mo.gov/DES/Claims/partial_benefit. If your wages from part-time or temporary work are greater than your weekly benefit allowance and you are not receiving any weekly benefit payments, you should stop claiming. Your claim will automatically close after 28 days.
Question 5: Will I still receive the unemployment owed to me once I return to work?
Answer: After you’ve returned to work, the DES will pay any outstanding unemployment benefit payments for weeks for which you are eligible, have requested payment and are still owed payment.
Question 6: What is the best method to reset my userid for the UInteract system so I can file a claim?
Answer: If you do not remember answers to your security questions, are unable to reset your userid and get locked out, you can try again in 24 hours. If you are still locked out, click here for assistance. Be sure to include your name, phone number and last four digits of your social security with your request. Due to the volume of inquiries, it may take a few days to respond to your request.
Question 7: Can I reset my own password if I’ve forgotten it?
Answer: Yes. You can click on “Forgot Password” to reset your password. If you have made too many attempts and are locked out, you can try again within 24 hours. There is no need to call the claims center staff to reset passwords.
Question 8: What does the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program provide and when do I receive the benefits?
Answer: The FPUC provides an additional $600 payment per week to those eligible for at least one dollar ($1 US) in unemployment benefits during that week. The $600 federal supplement provided under the FPUC is effective the week beginning March 29, 2020 . Payments to eligible recipients began the week of April 12, 2020. Payments will be made retroactively for claims filed on or after March 29, 2020. The last payable week under the FPUC will be the week ending July 25, 2020. During the FPUC program period, claimants who are eligible to receive regular unemployment weekly payments will receive the additional $600 FPUC payment.
Question 9: If I’m self-employed, can I receive unemployment benefits?
Answer: Self-employed, gig workers, and independent contractors whose businesses have been impacted by the coronavirus are encouraged to apply for unemployment assistance. Under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, those who qualify will be eligible for weekly benefit payments of between $133 and $320 per week plus a $600 federal supplement available under the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program. The federal guidelines provide the FPUC payments only apply to weeks payable from March 29, 2020, through July 25, 2020. These two programs are not regular unemployment insurance, but are new, fully federally funded assistance programs. Both of these provisions have been enacted as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Missouri is processing PUA claims beginning with the week of April 19, 2020.
Question 10: When can self-employed individuals apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)? When I filed, I was denied; it said I was “not an insured worker.” I don’t have enough work history, can I apply for PUA? I was about to begin a new job but couldn’t because of the coronavirus, can I file for PUA?
Answer: To be eligible for a PUA claim, individuals must first file a regular unemployment claim and be found ineligible. Most self-employed individuals who file a claim will receive a notice that they are not an insured worker. This is because they are not covered under the regular unemployment insurance system.
Individuals in these groups who have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus, and have not already filed a claim, are encouraged to file online at uinteract.labor.mo.gov. When filing, individuals should:
- Indicate “none” when asked for states in which they have worked, unless they have worked for an employer in the last 18 months. This is important because those that were self-employed and impacted by coronavirus may have worked for an employer in the last 18 months and could be eligible for the state’s regular unemployment insurance program.
- Receive a notification from DES with further instructions on what information will be needed and how to complete the filing process for the PUA. If those unemployed selected to be notified electronically, an email will be sent the following day after the claim is filed stating to check their correspondence tab in UInteract. All others will be mailed the instructions and should receive within the time it takes to be delivered by the US Postal Service.
Individuals who have already filed an unemployment claim and have received a notification that they are not an insured worker will also be contacted by the DES with further instructions on what information will be needed and how to complete the filing process for the PUA. The same notification by DES as stated above will apply.
Self-employed, gig workers, independent contractors, and those who otherwise do not qualify for regular unemployment benefits may also choose to provide proof of earnings to potentially increase the amount of benefits received each week. Until additional proof of earnings is provided to increase PUA benefit payments, those eligible for PUA benefits will receive the minimum PUA payment of $133 for each week for which they are eligible to receive payments. Examples of acceptable forms of proof of earnings will include copies of the 2019 income tax returns with related Schedules C, E, F and SE, Form K-1 and/or Form 1099-Misc. If the individual has not filed their 2019 taxes, the 2019 supporting tax documents will be acceptable proof. These are any documents used to file the income tax return which show 2019 earnings, such as Form 1099, W-2, etc. Individuals will receive instructions from the DES on how to securely submit proof through the UInteract system.
The PUA benefits will be retroactive to when an individual was negatively affected by the coronavirus. PUA payments are estimated to be issued within 10 days of eligibility determination. Claimants should log into UInteract.labor.mo.gov for the most up to date status of eligibility and payments.
Individuals who do not have enough work history or who were unable to begin their new job because of the pandemic are also encouraged to apply for unemployment. If they receive a notice that they are not an insured worker, they will also receive notification from the DES on how to complete their application for the PUA program. Anyone eligible for a PUA claim will also be required to file weekly requests for payment for weeks for which they wish to be paid.
Question 11: How do I qualify for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program?
Answer: To be eligible for a PUA claim, individuals must first file a regular unemployment claim and be found not eligible (see above). Additionally, the individual applying for the PUA must self-certify, under penalty of perjury, that they fall into one of the categories listed below and that intentional misrepresentation in one or more of these categories is fraud and may be subject to criminal prosecution.
To be covered under the PUA, an individual must self-certify that they are able to work and available to work as provided by state law except that they are unemployed, partially unemployed, unable to work or unavailable to work due to at least one of the following categories:
- The individual has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis.
- A member of the individual’s household has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
- The individual is providing care for a family member or a member of the individual’s household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
- A child or other person in the household for which the individual has primary caregiving responsibility is unable to attend school or another facility that is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency and such school or facility care is required for the individual to work.
- The individual is unable to reach the place of employment because of a quarantine imposed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
- The individual is unable to reach the place of employment because the individual has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
- The individual was scheduled to commence employment and does not have a job or is unable to reach the job as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
- The individual has become the breadwinner or major support for a household because the head of the household has died as a direct result of COVID-19.
- The individual has to quit his or her job as a direct result of COVID-19.
- The individual’s place of employment is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
- The individual is an independent contractor who is unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work because the COVID-19 health emergency has severely limited their ability to continue performing their customary work activities, and have been forced to suspend such activities.
Question 12: I've exhausted my benefits; am I eligible for unemployment assistance?
Answer: Missouri has set up the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program beginning the week of April 26, 2020. This program may provide up to an additional 13 weeks of unemployment to those that have exhausted their regular unemployment benefits. While DES will mail and email potentially eligible individuals who have previously applied for benefits, those individuals do not need to wait for the DES to contact them. They may log into UInteract and look under their correspondence tab for instructions on how to file for a PEUC claim. The DES encourages claimants who have exhausted their unemployment benefits, and still have an active benefit year, to continue to file weekly requests for payments.
Question 13: Can I file for unemployment if I am still working part-time or working for another employer but laid off of one job?
Answer: Yes. You may file for unemployment. When you file your weekly request for payment you will be asked to report your weekly earnings before taxes and other deductions. If your earnings are not excessive, you may receive a partial unemployment benefit. To calculate your partial benefit payment, visit labor.mo.gov/DES/Claims/partial_benefit. Misreporting or underreporting earnings to obtain additional funds under the regular unemployment program or the CARES Act qualifies as fraud. If an individual obtains benefits through fraud, the individual is ineligible for any additional benefit payments, must pay back the benefits received and is subject to criminal prosecution.
Question 14: Who pays for the additional $600 provided under the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program?
Answer: The FPUC is 100% federally funded.
Question 15: Will I be able to collect regular unemployment or the $600 federal supplement if I have an existing overpayment? Can you waive the fraud penalties on my overpayment?
Answer: If you have an existing non-fraud overpayment, any weekly benefit payment for which you are eligible will be applied to the overpayment. If you have an existing fraud penalty, you are not eligible for regular unemployment benefits, but could potentially be eligible for a Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claim, including the $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) supplement. Part of the benefit payment may be taken for offset of an overpayment. If you have questions regarding your overpayment, you may call 573-751-4058.
Question 16: Is there any assistance available to keep my employees on the payroll during this time? What is the Federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)?
Answer: The Federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan that helps businesses keep their workforce employed during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. For more information on which businesses qualify and other questions about this loan visit sba.gov. For other resources to help businesses, visit the Missouri Department of Health's page.
Question 17: I filed a Mass Claim for my employees and have received the PPP loan for those employees. What can I do now?
Answer: You will need to contact the Division of Employment Security (DES) by emailing DOLIR.MassClaims@labor.mo.gov or you can call 573-751-0436. DES will need a list of the employees that you are paying through the PPP loan. You will need to include the start date of when the employees will be getting paid.
Question 18 : My employer notified me that they will be paying me through the PPP loan. Can I choose to receive unemployment instead of a paycheck from my employer? Can I still collect unemployment?
Answer: If your employer has chosen to receive the PPP loan to pay employees, you do not have the choice of receiving unemployment benefits rather than the paycheck from the employer. If your employer has notified you that you will be receiving paychecks through the PPP loan, you must report your gross earnings for the week. If you are being paid by your employer through the PPP and the amount is greater than what is allowed above your Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA) in unemployment, you would be considered employed, and therefore not eligible to receive unemployment benefits. Any unemployment payments made to you during the same time that you were being paid by your employer through the PPP loan would be considered overpaid and you will need to pay those benefits back to the Division.
Question 19: What do I do if I’ve already received unemployment benefits and my employer is back paying me through a PPP loan?
Answer: If you have already claimed unemployment for those weeks, you will need to report your earnings immediately to the DES by calling 573-751-4058 and select option 4. A specialist will assist you in reporting these earnings. Any unemployment that was paid to you, including the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) payments, will need to be paid back by you for those weeks for which your employer was also paying you through the PPP. If you were overpaid you will receive a letter from the DES with information on how to repay the unemployment funds that were incorrectly paid to you. If your earnings through the PPP loan are less than your WBA, you may be eligible for partial unemployment benefits. You are still required to report these earnings for each week the funds are specified to be paid. (Example- If, you were paid on 4/22/2020 for the week of 4/12/2020 through 4/18/2020, you would need to report those earnings for the week ending 4/18/2020.)
Question 20: Can I claim unemployment if the amount my employer is paying me through the PPP loan is less than my Weekly Benefit Amount?
Answer: Yes, you can claim unemployment if the earnings you are receiving through the PPP loan are less than your Weekly Benefit Amount. You are required to report these earnings for each week the funds were specified to be paid. (Example - You were paid on 4/22/2020 for the week of 4/12/2020 through 4/18/2020 you would need to report those earnings when you request your weekly payment for the week ending 4/18/2020.)
Question 21: What can happen if I do not report the wages from the PPP loan to the Division?
Answer: When the DES determines a claimant receiving unemployment insurance (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 UI 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.
Question 22: Has Missouri waived the waiting week for those eligible to receive unemployment benefits due to the coronavirus?
Answer: Under the authority of Missouri EO20-4, the Missouri Department of Labor has waived any waiting week requirement served for all claims filed as a result of the coronavirus. That means, unlike prior to the order, eligible individuals will receive payment for the waiting week as their first payment and not have to wait until they have exhausted benefits to be paid for the waiting week. However, individuals will not get paid until after the protest period, which appears as a pending protest online.
Question 23: Why is there a protest period for unemployment claims?
Answer: Unemployment insurance is paid by employers. There is no money taken out of any employee’s paycheck to pay for it and it is not paid for by your taxes. It is strictly paid for out of your employer’s unemployment account. Because of this, your last employer and all of your base period employers have the right to protest an employee’s unemployment claim. In fact, because employers pay taxes that fund the account from which unemployment benefits are paid, we have to notify employers in your base period and give them an opportunity to protest before we pay benefits out of the fund to you. This is called a protest period and will show online on your claim as a pending protest. This is a usual part of the process and is a period of about ten days. If after that time, no issues are discovered and no protests are received, you would receive back payment for any money due. However, it is important that during this time you continue to request payments weekly.
Question 24: How long will it take for a claims payment to be made? What is the fastest way to get paid?
Answer: Typically, you would be requesting payments for 2-3 weeks during the protest period before receiving any payments and then we back pay you for those weeks if you are eligible. If you don’t already have a Missouri Access Debit card, the quickest way to receive payment is by direct deposit. Typically, after we process a payment to you (as viewed online), you will see the payment in your account within a day or two depending on how long your bank holds funds. For each week that you wish to be paid, you must file a weekly request for payment online. You cannot request payment until that calendar week is over. If you wish to be paid for the waiting week, you must request payment for that week also.
Question 25: It says I have a pending issue online. What does that mean?
Answer: If during a protest period, we receive a protest or an issue is discovered, your payment can be delayed until the investigation is completed. You can view your claim status online under the inquiry tab and any correspondence under the correspondence tab. Should we ask for additional information during the course of our investigation, please respond to the deputy’s request for additional information. Once we have completed our investigation, if we find in your favor, you will receive back pay for the weeks for which you have requested payment. If we do not find in your favor, you will receive correspondence (can also be found under the correspondence tab online) and give you the opportunity to appeal. In that case you would want to continue to request payments each week.
Question 26: If the coronavirus (COVID-19) causes my employer to shut down operations temporarily or close, will I qualify for unemployment benefits?
Answer: In most situations, yes. Missouri unemployment benefits are available to individuals who are unemployed through no fault of their own. If an employer must shut down operations temporarily because of COVID-19 and no work is available, individuals may be eligible for unemployment benefits if they meet the eligibility criteria. Employers may be able to avoid a lay-off with a partial shut down by applying for the Missouri Shared Work program. See question below.
Question 27: Can an employer participate in Missouri’s Shared Work program whose business has temporarily declined due to the coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Answer: An employer can participate in a Shared Work plan if they meet the eligibility requirements for Missouri’s 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 unemployment benefits while working reduced hours. For more information about the eligibility requirements for Missouri’s shared work program, please visit www.sharedwork.mo.gov, email email@example.com. or call 573-751-WORK (9675). Employees that are eligible for Shared Work during a week are also eligible for the $600 FPUC supplement for that week.
Question 28: Do I need to search for work if I am laid off due to COVID-19?
Answer: Weekly work search activities are not required for those that file their unemployment claim as a coronavirus-related claim.
Question 29: Will an employer’s unemployment taxes increase if an employee receives unemployment benefits because of a coronavirus-related business shutdown?
Answer: Under the authority of Missouri EO20-4, the Missouri Department of Labor is temporarily waiving any charges to contributory employers for benefits paid out to claimants as a result of a loss of work due to the coronavirus.
Question 30: If I am off of work due to the coronavirus and am receiving pay such as paid sick leave, vacation pay or family medical leave, am I eligible to receive unemployment benefits?
Answer: No. Generally speaking, an individual still receiving pay while off of work is not “unemployed” and is ineligible for unemployment benefits.
Question 31: Are employer unemployment taxes and reports for the first quarter still due on April 30, 2020?
Answer: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, the first quarter employer Contribution and Wage payment due date has been extended until June 1, 2020. Contribution and Wage reports are still due by April 30, 2020.
Question 32: Can an employer participate in a mass claim filing?
Answer: Yes. The Electronic Mass Claims Filing System is available to employers during a temporary mass lay-off. Employee information provided by the employer, allows the DES to file an initial or renewed unemployment claim on behalf of employees quickly and efficiently. An employer can participate in a mass claim filing if they meet the eligibility requirements below:
- The lay-off must be due to a lack of work;
- The lay-off must be less than eight weeks in duration;
- An employee is not on a leave of absence;
- The employee is not receiving pay; for example, sick pay, vacation pay, family medical leave pay, etc.
- For more information about the Mass Claims Filing System, please visit labor.mo.gov/mass-claims.
Question 33: Will an employee be eligible for unemployment benefits if they are in mandatory quarantine because of suspicion of having the coronavirus?
Answer: In most situations, yes.
Question 34: My employer has remained open because it is essential. I’m not sick, nor is anyone in my household sick. I do not have children or care for someone who cannot care for themselves. However, I’m afraid of getting coronavirus from customers coming to the store, so I quit and filed for unemployment. Can I obtain benefits under the CARES Act?
Answer: No. Under the CARES Act, you may be eligible for benefits if you meet one of the circumstances listed in the Act, but none include the scenario described. On these facts, you are not eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) because you do not meet any of the qualifying circumstances.
There are, however, circumstances under the CARES Act in which specific, credible health concerns could require an individual to quit his or her job and thereby make the individual eligible for PUA. For example, an individual may be eligible for PUA if he or she was diagnosed with COVID-19 by a qualified medical professional, and although the individual no longer has COVID-19, the illness caused health complications that render the individual objectively unable to perform his or her essential job functions, with or without a reasonable accommodation. However, voluntarily deciding to quit your job out of a general concern about exposure to COVID-19 does not make you eligible for PUA. If you believe your employer’s response to the possible spread of COVID-19 creates a serious safety hazard or if you think your employer is not following OSHA standards, you can file a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
As a general matter, you are likely to be eligible for PUA due to concerns about exposure to the coronavirus only if you have been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine as a result of such concerns. For instance, an individual whose immune system is compromised by virtue of a serious health condition, and who is therefore advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine in order to avoid the greater-than-average health risks that the individual might face if he or she were to become infected by the coronavirus will be eligible for PUA if all other eligibility requirements are met.
Question 35: If an individual leaves work to care for children due to school/daycare closures as a result of COVID-19, are they eligible to receive unemployment benefits?
Answer: For regular unemployment, in most cases , no. Unemployment benefits are available to individuals who are totally or partially unemployed due to no fault of their own. In this example, the individual is not available for work due to caring for children and would be ineligible. However, the facts of each circumstance are essential in determining eligibility for unemployment benefits. Under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provision of the CARES Act, they may be eligible. The PUA is not regular unemployment insurance, but instead a fully federally funded assistance program.
Question 36: If an individual is ill because of the coronavirus, will they be eligible for unemployment benefits?
Answer: Maybe. The facts of each circumstance are essential in determining eligibility for unemployment benefits and each situation must be handled on a case by case basis. An employee would first use available sick leave or other paid leave if the employee is ill. PUA is also generally not payable to individuals who have the ability to telework with pay or who are receiving paid sick leave or other paid leave benefits. However, if individuals have exhausted available leave, they can be eligible for PUA if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and are seeking a medical diagnosis.
Question 37: Can an individual receive Disaster Unemployment Assistance due to the coronavirus?
Answer: If the President of the United States declares the coronavirus a national disaster with individual assistance available, and if the individual experiences a loss of work in Missouri as a result, they may be eligible for unemployment benefits and/or Disaster Unemployment Assistance. NOTE: The March 13, 2020, national disaster emergency declaration did NOT include individual assistance. However, the CARES Act does contain a provision for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
Question 38: When should an individual file for unemployment benefits?
Answer: Once the individual is separated from work, they should immediately file a claim for unemployment benefits.
Question 39: What if a claimant is required to participate in the Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessment (RESEA) program?
Answer: If an individual is required to participate in the RESEA program the RESEA interview will be completed over the phone at this time. Claimants should contact the MO Job Center at the phone number listed on the appointment letter. If the individual is unable to participate, they may reschedule their interview appointment by contacting the job center at the phone number listed on their appointment letter.
For additional questions about COVID-19, please visit:
Updated 4/22/20 – Updates include the status of CARES Act Implementation
With Congress and the President responding to COVID-19 in multiple ways, it is challenging to keep up with how these recent changes to federal law may impact an individual’s situation at work. The Department is closely tracking recent legislative changes and how they may apply to state government operations and programs. The Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relation (DOLIR) will provide updates on this FAQs page as changes are received.
NOTE: The regular unemployment insurance (UI) program continues to be in effect. In Missouri, most people who are currently employed and quit or refuse work are not eligible for unemployment benefits. If an employer offers sick leave and/or other leave options to address COVID-19 in lieu of layoffs, then a person who quits on his/her own volition would not qualify for UI benefits. At this point, no federal legislation changes this part of Missouri’s program eligibility for unemployment benefits.
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES)
On Friday, March 27th, 2020, President Trump signed the CARES Act which, in addition to many other things, added many programs that extend the length, eligibility, and benefit amount for Unemployment Insurance (UI). The next day, DOLIR Director Anna Hui, at Governor Parson’s direction, signed an agreement with the US Department of Labor (USDOL) to administer the programs under the CARES Act once guidance is issued.
The CARES Act has six programs that affect UI, including the following:
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) – The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program is separate from the regular unemployment insurance program, which will continue to operate. PUA may cover individuals who are not eligible for regular and extended benefits, or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). This could include independent contractors, self-employed, agricultural workers, etc.
- Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) – Under Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), an additional amount of $600 may be paid on top of weekly unemployment benefits for up to four (4) months, through the week ending July 25, 2020. In order to receive the $600 FPUC, workers must be eligible for regular unemployment insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) - The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) provides up to 13 weeks of additional unemployment benefits to those who have exhausted their regular unemployment benefits.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act
On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) into law. The Missouri Department of Labor does not administer this act.
On March 28, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) published additional implementation guidance pursuant to the FFCRA. The new guidance includes application of new paid leave requirements, fact sheets, and other materials, including two posters – one for federal workers and one for all other employees – that will fulfill notice requirements for employers obligated to inform employees about their rights under the new law. In addition, the WHD released a question and answer document about paid leave and posting requirements.
As a reminder, the WHD website is the best place for guidance on how the FFCRA applies to an individual’s particular circumstances:
Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act
Signed by President Trump and became law on March 6, 2020. The Missouri Department of Labor does not administer this Act.
On April 7, 2020, the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations with its Division of Workers’ Compensation filed an emergency rule under the workers’ compensation statue to provide a presumption that first responders contracting COVID-19 were infected in the course of their employment. The Labor and Industrial Relations Commission voted unanimously to approve the emergency rule.
On April 8, 2020, upon receipt of the signed approval of the Commission, the Department of Labor Director, Division of Workers’ Compensation Director and Department General Counsel signed a letter conveying the emergency rule to the Secretary of State and the Joint Commission on Administrative Rules.
After ten business days from date of receipt by the Secretary of State and barring any substantive revisions, the emergency rule will be effective on April 22, 2020.
The emergency rule allows for retroactive application of the presumption for instances which occurred prior to its effective date.
Notice of operations – Covid-19
In the interest of your health and safety, and that of employees at the Division of Workers’ Compensation, please note:
ALL IN-PERSON docket settings/trials are canceled through April 17, 2020.
You MAY NOT meet clients and attorneys at DWC offices to handle routine matters, instead please contact clients, other parties, and the Division electronically. See the options below.
Upon request of all parties to a case, a tele-conference with an Administrative Law Judge may be scheduled to discuss your case. Attorneys will decide who will initiate the conference call to include all parties and the Judge. Please submit in advance any documents to review – electronically – to all parties and the Division.
Routine matters can be handled by email and tele-conference:
See the local office docketing email chart on the DWC website and below to submit requests for tele-conferences, mediations, hardship hearings, final hearings, settlements, subpoenas, continuance, entries of appearance and withdrawal, dismissals, and other matters.
Settlements:In most cases, a settlement agreement or Stipulation for Compromise Settlement form can be submitted for an Administrative Law Judge to consider, using the local office docketing email below. The Division may schedule a tele-conference at the request of the parties to the case or upon its own determination. A signed copy of the settlement will be emailed to all parties.
A tele-conference will satisfy the Division’s requirement that an unrepresented employee appear before the Division; notarized signatures of employees are no longer required by the Division.
Requests for Hardship Hearings will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Filings submitted to the Division:
Attorneys - Claims for Compensation and Answers to Claims for Compensation should be submitted electronically through Box.com or by Fax to 573-522-5043. Currently over 58% of all Claims and Answers are submitted using Box.com and a date-stamped copy is generally available within 24 hours.Instructions are available.
Local office docketing email chart:
Docketing Email Address
The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in some affected geographic areas. Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in the area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.
Diseases can make anyone sick regardless of their race or ethnicity. Fear and anxiety about COVID-19 can cause people to avoid or reject others even though they are not at risk for spreading the virus.
Remember that the Missouri Human Rights Act makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of race and national origin in employment, housing, and public accommodation.
If you have questions about COVID-19, please visit the following resources:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, www.health.mo.gov
The Missouri Commission on Human Rights is the agency mandated to enforce Missouri’s anti-discrimination law.