Federal Benefits- Missouri Unemployment Benefits and Eligibility

In this article...
  • Learn about how Missouri unemployment benefits and eligibility are administered, including how claims are assessed and how your weekly benefits are calculated.

Missouri unemployment benefits and eligibility are handled by the Division of Employment Security (DES), a subsection of the Department of Labor & Industrial Relations. It uses employer tax contributions to provide temporary financial assistance to people who are unemployed through no fault of their own. 

You can claim unemployment insurance support if you meet Missouri's monetary and non-monetary eligibility criteria. Below, you can find out how Missouri unemployment benefits and eligibility work to help you determine if you're eligible and how much you could receive. 

How Do Missouri Unemployment Benefits and Eligibility Work?

If you think you qualify for Missouri unemployment benefits, you can file a claim online through the UInteract portal. You will need to provide the following information:

  • Social Security or Alien Registration number
  • Employment information for every position held in the last 18 months, including your employers' contact details, date of employment and termination and the reason for leaving each job
  • How much you earned in the last week

Create a new account and follow the on-screen prompts to submit your application. The DES will assess your claim against the eligibility criteria and send you a Claim Confirmation document to tell you if you've been successful and how much you'll receive. 

Once your claim is approved, you'll need to log in to your account and file a weekly request for payment every week until your benefits entitlement ends or you find employment. 

Who Is Eligible for Missouri Unemployment Benefits?

You will need to prove that your reasons for unemployment are not your fault and that your earnings met the minimum threshold during your base period. You may qualify for partial unemployment benefits if your employer has reduced your working hours.

Monetary Eligibility Criteria

The DES uses the same base period system as most other states to assess monetary eligibility to unemployment benefits, but Missouri has its own earnings thresholds. Your base period is determined by counting back five financial quarters before the quarter in which you claimed and then calculating your earnings from the first four quarters. 

To qualify, you must have earned more than $2,250 during your base period and a minimum of $1,500 during at least one financial quarter. Your earnings for the remaining three quarters must exceed $750, and your total base period earnings must be more than 150% of what you were paid in the quarter when you earned the most.

Alternatively, you could be eligible for unemployment benefits if you earned more than 1.5 times the taxable wage base during two of the base period quarters. As of 2021, the taxable wage base is $11,000.

Non-Monetary Eligibility Criteria

The DES will only consider claims made by applicants who can provide a justifiable reason for their unemployment. It is likely to find in favor of applicants who had their contracts terminated without misconduct or felt compelled to leave their jobs because of harassment or intolerable working conditions.

It is unlikely to approve your claim if you left your role without good cause or were fired due to wrongdoing. However, it may grant your claim if you had to leave your job to relocate with your spouse if they work for the U.S. military.

Weekly Eligibility Criteria

You must file a weekly request for payment to remain eligible for benefits after you're approved. You are expected to seek employment while you're claiming benefits and may lose your eligibility if you turn down a suitable job offer. You may also be told to engage with a Missouri Job Center to help you secure employment. 

You must be ready and able to work for the duration of your claims period. For example, you may not be eligible for benefits in a given week if you are sick or need to stay home to look after your kids. You must report any earnings to the DES weekly. 

How Much Will I Get and How Will I Be Paid?

The DES calculates your weekly benefit rate by finding your average earnings for the two base period quarters in which your pay was highest. Your weekly rate is 4% of this quarterly average up to a maximum payment of $320. You can get an estimate of your likely benefit amount using the online calculator on the DES website. 

If you pay child support, the Division of Child Support Enforcement reserves the right to take up to 50% of your unemployment benefits if you don't keep up with your payments. 

You will usually receive your first payment within 2-3 weeks of your application. This period is known as a protest period, and it allows your previous employers to refute your entitlement to benefits. If your claim is successful, your benefits will be backdated to when you submitted your claim. 

You can choose to receive your payments by direct transfer into your nominated account or via a Missouri Access Mastercard. The DES will send you your debit card once your application is approved. 

How Long Can You Receive Unemployment Benefits in Missouri?

Most states allow citizens to claim unemployment benefits for up to 26 weeks. However, the state of Missouri only pays benefits for a maximum of 20 weeks. The DES may agree to extend your benefits period in exceptional circumstances if you cannot secure employment. It may also allow for benefits extensions during periods of unusually high unemployment, such as during the coronavirus pandemic. 

What Disqualifies You From Getting Unemployment Benefits in Missouri?

Your benefits application may be denied if you don't meet the monetary or non-monetary eligibility requirements or make a fraudulent claim. You could also lose eligibility if you fail to show evidence of your job-seeking activities or don't stick to the weekly eligibility criteria. 

You can appeal to the Missouri Labor and Industrial Relations Commission if you feel you were wrongfully disqualified from receiving benefits. You should appeal in writing within 30 days of having your application denied.