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Missouri Unemployment Benefits

Unemployment Resource

Phone: (800) 320-2519


If you are eligible to receive benefit checks, under usual circumstances your first check will arrive approximately 18-22 days after you start your new claim.

This is true whether filing by Internet or telephone. Your former employers paid taxes on the wages you earned, which funds your Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim. These taxes are not taken out of your wages.Therefore, if you are unemployed for any reason other than lack of work, the reason you lost your job may affect the payment of benefits.

Your employers are notified that you have filed a claim. 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 we receive information that may cause you to not be paid, you will be sent a notice for a telephone interview to give information about the issue. If you fail to 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 benefits, payments are usually made the next working day after your weekly claim is received. Payments will not arrive on the same day each week. Payments may be delayed for various reasons, such as a holiday occurring during the week or if further investigation is needed.

File a claim

To file a claim for unemployment insurance benefits in Missouri, call the nearest Missouri Division of Employment Security Regional Claims Center.

Jefferson City: (573) 751-9040 or toll-free 1-800-320-2519
Kansas City: (816) 889-3101 or toll-free 1-800-320-2519
Springfield: (417) 895-6851 or toll-free 1-800-320-2519
St. Louis: (314) 340-4950 or toll-free 1-800-320-2519

The Regional Claims Centers are open and accepting telephone calls from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Once you are on hold to speak with a claims representative, please stay on the line. Hanging up and calling back will only increase your wait time.

Monday and Tuesday are our busiest days. You may experience a wait of 10 to 40 minutes. For faster service, please call later in the week. Waiting until later in the week to file your initial claim for benefits will have no effect on the beginning, or effective, date of your claim.

Hearing/Speech Impaired

To file a new or renewed claim or for information about your claim, call Relay Missouri at 1-800-735-2966 and ask the operator to call (888) 861-8349.

TDD/TTY Users Only
To file for weekly benefits,
(Interactive Voice Response Unit)

Jefferson City Local

You must call from a touch-tone phone. A rotary phone will not work. 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. The telephone number for your area Regional Claims Center is listed in the back of this booklet. Your call will be answered by an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. You will be given a menu of services.

If filing by Internet, you will receive a confirmation page after completing the requested information. Your confirmation page contains basic instructions about your claim. Print and read the confirmation page. It is your proof of filing a claim.

If filing by telephone, the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system will answer your call. After entering basic information, you will speak to a claims representative to complete the claim filing. In addition to other information, you must provide the name and current mailing address of your last employer and the last day you worked.

Whether filing by Internet or telephone, the effective date of your claim will be the Sunday of the week that you file. Do not delay filing your claim.

After you file your claim, you will be mailed a form called Notice of Initial Determination of Status as an Insured Worker. Even if the form shows that you are an insured worker, this does not mean that you will receive checks.

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.

If you believe wages are listed incorrectly or some of your wages are missing, contact your area Regional Claims Center 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 will be asked to provide proof of the correct wages, such as, check stubs, W-2 statements or other documents. You must continue to claim benefits while your wages are being checked unless you return to work.

When you first apply for benefits, you are filing a new claim. A review of your work history will be used to determine if you had enough insured work to establish a claim benefit year. Insured work is work done for one or more employers that are required to contribute to the Unemployment Insurance Fund. Your claim benefit year is the one-year period that unemployment benefits are potentially available to you.

During your claim benefit year, you are entitled to a weekly benefit amount for weeks you are totally or partially unemployed providing that you meet all requirements and a balance remains on your claim.

The amount you can receive is figured on wages paid during your base period. Your base period is the 12-month period consisting of the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before the beginning date of your claim.

NOTE: Wages are assigned to a quarter as they are paid; not when they are earned.

To establish a claim, you must have wages of at least $1,000 in one quarter of your base period. You must have wages in two quarters of the base period and the total amount of your wages must be at least one and one-half times your highest quarter wages. If you do not meet this requirement, you may still qualify if you have wages in at least two quarters of your base period, and the total of the wages is at least $10,500 for a claim filed after 2001.

If you qualify, your weekly benefit amount will be four percent of your highest quarter wages. For claims filed in 2001 or later, this amount cannot be more than $250.

The most you can receive during your benefit year is your maximum benefit amount. The amount is 26 times your weekly benefit amount or one-third of your base period wages, whichever is less. When figuring the maximum benefit amount, the base period wages are limited to $6,500 per quarter.

If you are filing a claim now and filed one a year ago, you cannot be paid on the new claim unless you have worked after filing last year. Your Regional Claims Center representative will explain this requirement when you file.

You must have filed an initial claim or renewed an existing claim before you can file a weekly claim. You cannot be paid benefits unless you correctly file weekly claims.

A claim for benefits is made on a calendar week basis. A calendar week begins on Sunday and ends on Saturday. You must wait until the week is over before you make the weekly claim for benefits. On the Sunday after you file your initial or renewed claim, you should file your first weekly claim.

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. To file your weekly claim using the Internet, go to www.moclaim.com.

After completing your weekly claim using the Internet, you will receive a confirmation page indicating that your claim has been accepted. If you close or disconnect the Internet weekly claim site before receiving the confirmation page, you will have to return to www.moclaim.com and start again.

You may be an insured worker and still be ineligible or disqualified for benefits. You must be able to work and available for work each day of the week and looking for work to receive benefits. The following are some common reasons why benefits cannot be paid:

  • medical reasons preventing you from accepting full time work;
  • non citizen without permission to work;
  • limitations on the wages, hours or days, or locations of a job you will accept;
  • not able or available for full time work;
  • not looking for full time work;
  • failure to report or participate in re-employment services;
  • involved in a strike;
  • self-employed;
  • attending school;
  • school employee between years or terms;
  • refusal of suitable work;
  • professional athlete;
  • suspended for misconduct connected with your work;
  • discharged or fired from your job for misconduct connected with your work;
  • quit your job without good cause related to the work or employer.
  • This is only a partial list of reasons you may be disqualified or ineligible.

If you are denied 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. Your appeal rights and time limits are explained on each determination. Please read it carefully.

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 you receive about your claim, ask your claims representative for an explanation.

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. The time limits for filing can only be extended for "good cause." 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.

You will receive a notice telling you when your appeal hearing will be held. It is important that you participate in the hearing since the decision on your claim will be based primarily on information given at the hearing. Failure to take part in the hearing may result in a decision against you.

At the hearing you will be given an opportunity to present your case. Facts in support of your claim should be presented at this time. If witnesses are needed to help present your case, you must arrange for them to participate.

If you have appealed, you must protect your right to benefits while waiting for the appeals decision. You must continue to file your claim as usual for each week you are unemployed. Even though an appeals decision may find you eligible for benefits, you will not be paid for any week for which you have not filed a timely claim.

In some cases, when you are found eligible for benefits, your employer may disagree and file an appeal. An employer's appeal does not cause your benefits to stop. If the employer wins the appeal, however, these benefits may be overpaid. Because you must repay any overpaid benefits, it is important you participate in the hearing on the employer's appeal to present your side of the case.

Before any benefits can be paid, you must serve a waiting week. To serve the waiting week you must have a claim in existence (benefit year), have filed a weekly claim and be entitled to benefits in all respects. You will not be paid benefits for the waiting week until after you are paid benefits for nine weeks in a row.

Your claim will become inactive if you fail to file a weekly claim within 28 calendar days (four weeks) from the Saturday week ending date of the last week you claimed. Your claim must be renewed or reopened if it becomes inactive. Whether filing by Internet or telephone, your renewed claim will be started again the Sunday of the week you file the renewal.

You may receive some 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) and not just take home pay.

You will be paid the difference between your weekly benefit amount plus $20.00 and your gross wages. The benefits that are payable to you are rounded to the next lower dollar amount.
Example: Your weekly benefit amount ($100.00) + $20.00 = $120.00
Subtract your reported gross wages = -49.87
Remaining total = 70.13
After rounding down, your partial pay = $70.00

Unemployment insurance benefits are subject to federal and state income taxes. Any unemployment insurance benefits you receive are fully taxable provided you are required to file a tax return. You will be mailed a statement of benefits paid to you after the year has ended. The Internal Revenue Service will be given this same information.