Unemployment Resources

Unemployment insurance provides temporary income to people who lose their job at no fault of their own. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, known as the CARES Act, expands eligibility and supplements traditional unemployment benefits.

What’s New with Unemployment Benefits?

Here are important highlights and changes to Unemployment Assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Expanded Eligibility

Newly eligible individuals include independent contractors, people who are self-employed, part-time workers, and agricultural workers. A number of situations that result in job loss during the pandemic may also qualify for assistance. For example, people who are in quarantine, those who need to care for a sick family member, and workers who must care for a child who no longer has school/daycare.

Additional Unemployment Compensation

People who lost their jobs due to COVID-19 and receive at least $100 in traditional unemployment benefits can qualify for an additional $300 each week. The Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program applies to people who received benefits on or after August 1, 2020.  

Extended Benefits

Unemployment benefits are now available for 13 additional weeks beyond what is traditionally provided. The extension is available through the end of 2020.

Program Overview


Missourians who are totally or partially laid off from work through no fault of their own may be eligible for assistance. Individuals must also meet income requirements based on earnings during a prior 12-month period. For more information about income eligibility, visit the Department of Labor.

During COVID-19, self-employed, part-time, and gig workers may also be eligible. Below are other pandemic-related situations that may qualify someone for unemployment benefits.

    • Diagnosed with COVID-19 or is experiencing symptoms and seeking diagnosis
    • Primary caregiver of a child who is unable to attend school that is closed due to COVID-19
    • Unable to work due to an imposed quarantine or was advised by medical provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19
    • An individual who quit a job as a direct result of COVID-19
    • An individual’s place of employment closed as a direct result of COVID-19

NOTE: Individuals are NOT eligible if using paid sick leave, vacation, family medical leave or are working remotely.

Application Process

Individuals should apply for benefits using the online portal, UInteract.

Individuals who qualify based on the pandemic-related situations listed above must first apply for Unemployment Insurance and receive a “Determination of Status as Insured Worker” denial. Then, applicants can submit a claim for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) on UInteract.

Once enrolled, weekly reports must be filed online to continue receiving benefits. These updates require a report of weekly work search activities such as: creating a resume, submitting a job application, networking, etc. Watch the Department of Labor’s video to learn more.


The amount of weekly unemployment benefits in Missouri are based on a percentage of previous earnings. The maximum weekly benefit amount is $320. Typically, individuals can receive assistance for up to 13 weeks. Visit the Unemployment Benefit Calculator to determine your estimated benefit amount.

People who lose employment due to COVID-19 and receive at least $100 in traditional unemployment on or after August 1, 2020 may be eligible for an additional $300 each week.  

Contact Information

Missouri Department of Labor

Regional Claims Center representatives are also available by phone Monday – Friday from 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM.

  • Jefferson City:  573-751-9040
  • Kansas City:  816-889-3101
  • Springfield:  417-895-6851
  • St.Louis:  314-340-4950
  • Outside Local Area:  800-320-2519

To contact a Regional Claims Center representative by email: esuiclaims@labor.mo.gov

Unemployment Questions & Answers

When will I receive benefits if I’m enrolled in the program?

The quickest way to receive payment is by direct deposit. Once approved, payments are usually deposited within a couple days. Remember to file a weekly report once the calendar week is over.

Note: Individuals typically have to wait 2-3 weeks to receive their initial benefits. This time period is referred to as the “protest period” when employers are contacted about the unemployment request. Eligible individuals will receive back payment for benefits and should continue to submit weekly claims during this time period.

Do I have to apply separately for the additional $300 benefit?

No. Individuals will automatically receive the supplemental amount if they receive at least $100 per week in unemployment benefits and self-certify that they lost employment due to COVID-19.  

How can I receive unemployment benefits if I meet one of the pandemic-related situations such as being the primary caregiver for a child who is unable to attend school or daycare due to COVID-19 closures?

Individuals must first submit a claim for Unemployment Insurance and receive notice that they do not qualify as an insured worker. Individuals then need to file a separate claim for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) on UInteract. 

Do I have to search for work if I was laid off due to COVID-19?

Beginning July 5, enrollees will need to complete work search activities at least 3 times per week to continue receiving unemployment benefits. Qualifying activities include applying and interviewing for jobs, attending job fairs, participating in a skills workshop, etc. Work search activities must be reported in unemployment weekly reports.

Watch the Department of Labor’s video to learn more.

Individuals with an employer-submitted recall date and those participating in approved training or the Shared Work program will continue to be exempt from the work search requirement.

Can I sign up for unemployment again if my benefits recently ran out?

You can reapply for benefits to receive the additional 13 weeks that are available through the CARES Act.

Will I receive benefits during my first week enrolled in unemployment?

Beginning July 5, the waiting week will be reinstated in Missouri. The waiting week is the first week that someone is eligible but is not paid unemployment benefits. Individuals who are approved for benefits may receive compensation for the waiting week as the last payment on the regular unemployment claim. A weekly unemployment report should still be submitted for this week.

Can unemployment benefits disqualify me for other assistance programs?

Income received through unemployment insurance will not be counted when determining eligibility for Medicaid and CHIP. The benefits may be counted as income for other safety net programs like SNAP and WIC.

Last Updated:  June 18, 2020