Missouri Unemployment Benefits and Eligibility

Eligibility Team
Researcher & Writer
August 04, 2017

The Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, Division of Employment Security (DES) administers unemployment insurance benefits for people of have lost their job through no fault of their own.  Missouri unemployment compensation benefits are paid 100 percent by Missouri employer taxes.  No taxes are deducted from workers’ wages.

The state also oversees a job training, education and job matching program to assist the unemployed in going back to work as quickly as possible.

How Unemployment Works in Missouri

And How To Get Unemployment in Missouri

  1. After becoming unemployed, it is crucial to file a Missouri unemployment application as soon as possible. This will allow you to begin receiving benefits that can help cover bills and the costs of everyday life.
  2. After you apply for Missouri unemployment, it may be several days before you receive an approval or rejection. If you do not meet Missouri unemployment benefits eligibility, you are legally entitled to an appeal hearing.
  3. If your Missouri unemployment claim is approved, you are on track to receiving weekly benefits payments. You should factor in a one-week waiting period that is required for anyone who files Missouri unemployment applications.
  4. Following the one-week wait, you will begin to receive your benefits payments through a pre-paid debit card or direct deposit. Missouri unemployment laws dictate that you cannot receive more than $320 per week, for a maximum of 20 weeks.
  5. Each week you will be required to submit Missouri unemployment weekly claims, the proof that you are hunting for new work, to continue getting your benefits. After reaching 20 weeks, you can submit a Missouri unemployment extension, though approval is rare and on a case-by-case basis.

What Missouri unemployment qualifications do I need to meet?

To qualify for unemployment payments, you must meet all Missouri unemployment requirements.

To file an initial Missouri unemployment claim:

  • You lost your job through no fault of your own, or you quit for a good cause related to the work of the employer.  For example, if you are asked to perform illegal or dangerous work, these would be good caused related reasons to quit.
  • You must have made at least $2,250 during your base period.  A base period will cover four calendar quarters.  Of this amount, you must have made at least $1,500 during one of the calendar quarters and at least $750 during the remainder of the base period from an employer who pays into the state’s unemployment benefits fund.
  • Your total base period wages must be at least 1.5 times your highest quarter wages or you must make at least $19,500 during two of the four base period quarters.  If you earned wages from another state, worked for a federal employer, or had active military service in the past 18 months prior to filing your claim, you may be able to use those wages to increase your weekly benefit amount or your overall maximum benefit amount.

To remain eligible to collect benefits:

You must report all wages earned each week, even if you will not actually be paid until some time in the future.  Qualifying wages include tips, commissions, bonuses, show-up time, military reserve pay, board and lodging.

You must continue to look for work while collecting benefits.  This means you must be able and available for full-time work.  If you have an illness, injury or personal circumstances such as child care issues that can keep you from working, you could be denied benefits for that week.

If you refuse an offer to go to work, you could be denied benefits.

If you earn income from being self-employed or due to National Guard drill, you must discuss these circumstances with the DES and you will be instructed on how to file when you claim benefits.

Newly unemployed?

Several online services—like FlexJobs, 360training, or MyPerfectResume—can help you find work-from-home jobs, build a better resume, or earn training certifications.

How to file a Missouri unemployment insurance claim

To file a claim for unemployment insurance benefits in Missouri, you will need to register with UInteract, the state’s unemployment insurance system.  Before you register for benefits, you will need to gather information that will be used to process your claim.  That information will include:

  • Social Security number
  • Home address
  • Mailing address
  • Telephone number
  • A valid email address
  • The reason why you lost your last job
  • If you are not a U.S. citizen, you will need an Alien registration number
  • If you were on active duty in the U.S. military in the past 18 months, you will need DD Form 214, Member 4
  • If you worked for the federal government in the past 18 months, you will need Standard Form 8 and Standard Form 50.
  • You will need all of your employment information for the past 18 months, including all contact information and dates worked
  •  Any additional wages you have received from vacation, severance or other sources
  • Other states where you have worked in the past 18 months.
  • If you choose to have your payments made by direct deposit, you will also need to supply appropriate information for that option (bank name and address, account and routing number).

Once you have this information, go to UInteract to register.  You will be required to complete all fields market with a red asterisk as well as creating three security questions and answers.

You will also use this system to file claims for weekly benefits, so it is important that you record your User ID and Password that you set up the first time you access the system.

Residents of Missouri who must leave their job and relocate with a spouse who is in the active military can also file for unemployment benefits.  For more information, go here.

If you are unsure or have questions about how to file Missouri unemployment applications, you can visit a Missouri unemployment office. To find in-person help, visit our list of Missouri unemployment office locations.

How much will I get paid for my Missouri unemployment benefits?

Missouri’s maximum weekly benefit amount is $320 and once you are deemed eligible, you can receive benefits for a maximum of 20 weeks under Missouri’s regular state unemployment insurance program.

Your weekly benefit amount is calculated by taking 4% of the average of your highest two quarters in your base period.  To calculate your amount, use this formula:

High quarter wages + second highest quarter wages ÷ 2 x 0.04 = your weekly benefit amount.  For example, if you earned $8,000 in your highest quarter and $6,000 in your second highest quarter, your weekly benefit amount would be $8,000 + $6000 = $14,000 ÷ 2 = $7,000 x .04 = $280 for your weekly benefit amount.

Your maximum benefit amount is the most you can receive in a benefit year. It is 20 times your weekly benefit amount, or one-third of your base-period earnings, whichever is less.

Missouri has created a benefits calculator that will allow you to compute an estimated amount that you might be eligible to receive if you meet all requirements.  However, your weekly benefit may be greater or less than the amount the calculator shows.  To access the calculator, go here.

A person who has their number of work hours reduced and corresponding pay reduced, may also be able to collect benefits under a partial claim submission.

It is important to note that in Missouri the Division of Child Support Enforcement can intercept up to 50 percent of a claimant's weekly benefits if they are delinquent on their child support payments. The DES cannot alter, remove, or add child support intercepts. Questions regarding the interception of unemployment benefits should be directed to Child Support Enforcement at 866-313-9960.

When and how does the Missouri unemployment department make unemployment payments?

If the DES determines that you are eligible to receive Missouri unemployment insurance benefits, you can expect to see your first payment within 18 to 22 days after you file your initial claim.  It is important to note that benefits will not always be paid on the same day each week and you will receive no notices from the DES when benefits are paid.

The DES offers Missouri unemployment benefit recipients two ways to collect their unemployment benefits:

Direct Deposit – Your unemployment benefits are deposited directly into your checking or savings account.  If you choose this method, you must check with your banking institution to find out exactly when funds will be made available to you after they are deposited.

Missouri Access Mastercard – This option allows recipients to receive your benefits on a prepaid debit card that is mailed to you within two weeks after filing your initial claim.  Payments made to the debit card are normally available after 5:30 pm on the date the payment is made, if those payments are made Monday through Friday.  For payments made on Saturday, the funds are usually available after 5:30 pm on Monday.  You can check your debit card balance and transaction history by logging on th your UInteract account or by calling Missouri Access at 888-775-3445.  You are allowed one free call per week and you are charged 50 cents per call after that.

Looking for a job while collecting Missouri unemployment benefits

One of the key requirements for continuing to collect unemployment benefits is that you must look for work while drawing benefits.  The DES will give you the minimum amount of employers you must contact while drawing benefits, and you must keep a record of the employers you contact each week.  This is because the state reserves the right to verify and audit your job search activities at any time.  Failure to keep accurate and complete records could result in a denial of benefits.  The state provides a form for you to record your search activities.  It can be accessed here.

The state maintains a job matching website through the Missouri Division of Workforce Development that will help job seekers by providing a variety of online and in-person services.  The site allows you to search out job skills workshops, training and education options, and help you find one of Missouri’s Job Centers.

To access the Missouri unemployment website, go here.

To contact a local Missouri Job Center, you can also call 1-888-728-JOBS (5627)

What if I don't find a new job before my state of Missouri unemployment benefits end?

In some years, the Missouri unemployment rate is higher than normal, making it difficult for job seekers to find new work. In these situations, the state may approve Missouri unemployment extensions, though this happens on a case-by-case basis. If you are approved, the Missouri unemployment department may provide you with up to 20 additional weeks of benefits. If you are close to the end of your benefits and unsure about job hunting or what to do next to continue getting Missouri unemployment, contact an unemployment representative to determine your next move.

Filing an appeal if I am denied Missouri (MO) unemployment insurance benefits

In Missouri, if you have been denied an initial claim for unemployment insurance benefits, or disqualified after you have been approved, you have the right to file an appealwith the state’s Labor and Industrial Relations Commission.

There are several reasons why you could be denied benefits, ranging from quitting your job, being fired for misconduct or not earning enough wages in your base period, to failing to accept a suitable job offer or not meeting minimum requirements for conducting an active job search.

After you file for benefits or if you are already receiving benefits, you will receive a Notice of Deputy’s Determination in the mail.  This will explain the reason(s) why you were denied benefits and will give you the information you need to file an appeal.

You will have 30 days to file an appeal and the deadline for filing will be stated in the Notice.  To file an actual appeal, you can submit a written and signed statement, complete an appeal form (MODES-4607) online, or pick up a form at a Missouri Job Center.  Once you have completed the form, you can submit it by mail, fax or online using the state’s UInteract system.

While your request is under appeal, you should continue to file weekly requests for benefits.  If your appeal is approved, you will only be paid for those weeks that you filed a request.

Your employer has the right to also file an appeal if they disagree with the determination.  You will be notified if this happens.

Appeal hearings are usually conducted by phone, but you do have the right to have an appeal hearing in person if you so choose.  Results are issued by an Appeals Tribunal referee.  If you disagree with the ruling, you can request that the Labor Commission review the decision within 30 days of the date of mailing the Appeals Tribunal’s notice.  You can apply for an appeal using an Application for Review form.

After the Labor Commission reaches a decision, it becomes final 10 days after it is issued.  If a person is still not happy with the outcome, they may appeal it to the Missouri Court of Appeals, by filing a notice of appeal within 20 days after the Labor Commission’s decision becomes final.

Key terms: Missouri Unemployment Eligibility

  • Appeals Tribunal – a referee that is appointed to conduct hearings regarding unemployment insurance denials and disqualifications.
  • Base Period – The 52 week period used to determine what level of Missouri unemployment benefits you will be paid.  It is the first four of the last five completed quarters.
  • Benefit Week – This is the seven day period that starts on Sunday and ends on Saturday.
  • Benefit Year – 53 weeks from the Sunday before the day you filed your initial claim. The one-year period that UI benefits are available on a claim with a balance.
  • Division of Employment Security (DES) - administers unemployment insurance benefits in Missouri for people of have lost their job through no fault of their own.
  • Maximum Benefit Amount (MBA) – the maximum amount of benefits a claimant can receive during a benefit year.
  • Missouri Division of Workforce Development (DWD) – The state agency charged with overseeing various workforce development and employment related programs and services for businesses and job seekers.
  • MoJobs – The state of Missouri’s labor exchange system that provides job and candidate matching at not cost.
  • Missouri Job Centers – A statewide network of offices that allows job seekers to access job training, education and job matching services, as well as providing assistance with Missouri unemployment claim filings.
  • Waiting Week – The first week of your benefit year is called the waiting week.  Although you will not collect benefits for this week, you will still need to file a claim for benefits.
  • Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA) – The amount of unemployment compensation you will be paid each week.  In Missouri, unemployment amounts are determined based on wages earned during your Base Period or in your Alternate Wage Period

Click Here for our Guide: Unemployment Eligibility State by State

Unemployment Eligibility in Other States

  1. New York NYS Unemployment Benefits
  2. California CA Unemployment Benefits
  3. Indiana Unemployment Eligibility
  4. Ohio Unemployment Eligibility

For more information

For general and overview information on Missouri unemployment insurance, go here. You can also call a Missouri unemployment phone number for additional assistance:

Regional Claims Centers (RCC)

  • Jefferson City - 573-751-9040
  • Kansas City -  816-889-3101
  • Springfield - 417-895-6851
  • St. Louis - 314-340-4950

Outside Local Calling Area - 800-320-2519

Fax Number  - 573-751-9730

Automated Information available 24 hours a day.

RCC representatives are available from 8 am to 5 pm, M - F.

Mailing address

Division of Employment Security
P.O. Box 3915
Jefferson City, MO 65102


UInteract - uinteract.labor.mo.gov
Available 12:31 a.m. Sunday through 11:30 p.m. Saturday.

Filing an Appeal

Labor and Industrial Relations Commission
3315 W. Truman Blvd., Room 214
P.O. Box 599
Jefferson City, MO 65102-0599

Missouri unemployment number for appeals: 573-751-2461
Fax: 573-751-7806

Missouri Job Centers

To access the state’s job matching and training website, go here.

To contact a local Missouri Job Center, you can also call 1-888-728-JOBS (5627)

Eligibility Team
Written by
Eligibility Team
We are a team of experts dedicated to finding the right government programs for you. Our mission is simple: help people quickly and easily understand which programs they might be eligible for—all in one place. Our team is dedicated to researching and providing you with the most relevant information. We compile only the most trusted information from government sources into one place so you can find the facts you need and skip what you don’t.
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