The Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations began issuing $600 extra payments Monday to people who have filed for unemployment due to the coronavirus outbreak, with a total of $66 million in benefits paid out to over 115,000 claimants.
Eligible claimants should begin seeing their payments within the next few days, depending on how long their banks hold funds.
The department’s Division of Employment Security (DES) began issuing the $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) payments Monday.
The federal pandemic program provides that those eligible for at least $1 of unemployment compensation benefits during the week will receive an additional $600 per week as a federal supplement. All who are eligible for unemployment compensation will be eligible for the $600 supplement effective with the week beginning March 29. Payments will be made retroactively for claims filed on or after March 29. The last payable week for the $600 supplement will be the week ending July 25.
The DES notes that child support payments, existing non-fraud over payments and taxes, for those that have elected to have taxes withheld, will reduce both the $600 payment as well as any weekly unemployment payments. Those with an existing fraud penalty are not eligible for additional unemployment benefits.
The DES plans to provide an update later this week about the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program thath provides benefits to individuals who are not eligible for regular unemployment, including those who have exhausted their unemployment benefits, the self-employed, as well as individuals lacking sufficient work history.
For questions and answers related to the coronavirus and unemployment, as well as other effects on employment, visit labor.mo.gov/coronavirus frequently for updates.
Just in one week since the COVID-19 pandemic started, the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations took over 104,000 claims, director Anna Hui said last week. The volume of claims the department is receiving even trumps the number they were getting during the height of the 2008-2009 recession.
“To date, we’ve already taken more claims in the last few weeks than the entire year of 2019,” Hui said.
In response to the high volume of calls and traffic her department is getting during this time, Hui has asked the public to take a few steps before trying to call.
First, she urged those with questions to look at the Frequently Asked Questions on the department’s website.
“The answers on the website will be exactly the same as the answers the staff are going to give you,” she said.
Second, she advised those with further questions to watch the videos on the website. The videos explain how to file a claim, what to expect after filing and how to file a weekly claim, among other topics.
“We understand there are a lot of people new to the unemployment program,” Hui said. “These videos can help explain the program process and the benefits.”
She stressed that her department is working hard trying to get as many questions and claims answered as they can, as quickly as they can.
“We hope that you will treat our team members with courtesy and recognize that they are helping thousands of people each day through every resource we have available to us,” she said.
Jordan Meier of the Missouri News Network contributed to this report.