Not everyone whose work has been affected by COVID-19 has been able to file a claim for unemployment benefits. Self-employed, gig workers, and independent contractors, for example, are not eligible for regular UI benefits. The Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations’ (DOLIR’s) Division of Employment Security (DES) has good news on this. The state enacted federally funded programs from the CARES Act to provide relief to such workers.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA):
Under PUA, those ineligible for UI benefits whose work has been affected by the pandemic, will be receiving $133-320 a week. Payments will be retroactive to the date work became affected by the pandemic (with proof). Once eligibility is determined, claimants should expect payment within the following 10 days. Eligibility and payment information can be checked in real-time at: https://www.uinteract.labor.mo.gov.
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC):
The FPUC program will be also be stepping in next week, providing $600 to supplement lost income from 3/29/20 – 7/25/20.
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC):
Additionally, those who have run out of unemployment benefits should continue filing weekly requests, as they should anticipate receiving 13 more weeks of UI funds under this program.
How to Proceed in Receiving Benefits:
It is important for all claimants to understand that they must first go through the process of filing a regular unemployment insurance claim to prove ineligibility. Those without adequate work history or who were unable to begin their new job due to the pandemic should also apply for unemployment and follow next steps given. Claims can be completed by visiting mobile friendly UInteract any day at any time at https://www.uinteract.labor.mo.gov.
- Take care in filling out applications. Typos can inadvertently cause delay in benefits.
- Claimants should select “none” in response to the question asking which states they have worked in. Individuals who have worked for an employer within the last 18 months might be eligible for regular UI benefits.
- The process will go faster if you elect to be contacted electronically, as claimants will receive an email the next day with further information from the DES on how to proceed. Otherwise, paper instructions will be mailed by the USPS.
- The DES will be automatically contacting those that have already filed (and are ineligible) for UI benefits later this week.
- Claimants should be ready to provide proof of employment (business cards, ads, phone listings, business licenses, etc). Providing proof of earnings (income tax returns showing Schedules C, E, R, and SE, Form K-1 and/or Form 1099-Misc) should be considered, as it could potentially increase the amount of benefits received each week.
General questions and answers from virtual assistant can be found at the state’s website, https://www.labor.mo.gov/coronavirus. How-to videos can be found at https://www.labor.mo.gov/des/videos. And individuals can check their claim status on UInteract here: https://www.uinteract.labor.mo.gov. If the websites above do not answer your questions, please call the DES for further assistance at 1-800-320-2519.
Our office will monitor COVID-19 updates closely and will send out additional announcements as we become aware of any updates. You can also review these updates on our website at https://www.thomas-and-company.com/covid-19/ too.
Please reach out to your representative with any questions.