The CARES Act & the Missouri Department of Labor

By April 17, 2020CARES ACT, COVID-19

The Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations’ (DOLIR’s) Division of Employment Security (DES) started to issue the $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) payments this week. The state notes that they dispersed a total of $66 million in benefits paid out to over 115,000 individuals. Eligible individuals should receive their benefits within the next couple of days, but this will depend on how long the individuals’ banks hold funds.

As a reminder, the FPUC program provides those eligible for at least one dollar of benefits will receive an additional $600 payment per week. All individuals who are eligible for benefits will also be eligible for the additional $600 payment effective with the week beginning March 29, 2020. These payments will be made retroactively for claims filed on or after March 29, 2020. The last payable week for the $600 payment will be the week of July 25, 2020. Additionally, the state advised that child support payments, existing non-fraud over payments, and taxes, for those that have elected to have taxes withheld, will reduce the additional $600 payment and regular benefits too. Any individuals with an existing fraud penalty will not eligible for additional benefits.

Additionally, the state provided an update about the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. This program provides benefits to individuals who are not eligible for regular unemployment, including those who have exhausted their unemployment benefits, self-employed, as well as individuals lacking sufficient work history. Self-employed individuals filing unemployment claims should indicate “none” when asked for states in which they have worked unless they have worked for another employer in the last 18 months. The state will contact individuals who have been determined to be ineligible for regular unemployment benefits because of insufficient wages after the PUA program is fully operational. These individuals will be required to provide proof of earnings and proof of employment to file a claim for benefits. The state advised that acceptable forms of proof of earnings include copies of income tax returns with related Schedules C, E, F and SE, Form K-1 and/or Form 1099-Misc. Also, acceptable forms of proof of employment include business cards, advertisements, telephone listings, business licenses, etc. The PUA program will be retroactive to when an individual was negatively affected by COVID-19. The state expects to begin completing PUA claims as early as the week of April 19, 2020.

Finally, the state believes that it will also begin rolling out the provisions of the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program starting the week of April 26, 2020. This program will provide up to an additional 13 weeks of benefits to those that have exhausted their regular benefits.  The state will notify all potentially eligible individuals once the program is operational. The DES encourages claimants who have exhausted their unemployment benefits, and still have an active benefit year, to continue to file weekly requests for payments.

The state urges individuals to file for benefits via UInteract: https://www.uinteract.labor.mo.gov. UInteract is available 24/7 and is mobile-friendly. Individuals should log into their UInteract account to check on the status of their claims. Please be aware that those who file should provide as accurate information as possible and avoid typos, wrong dates, or other errors that will cause a delay in processing their claims for benefits. The state also recommends that individuals review unemployment information on their website at https://www.labor.mo.gov/coronavirus. This website includes how-to videos and answers to commonly asked questions.

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.

Mike Parker

Author Mike Parker

Mike has 30 years of experience in unemployment cost control management, and has been with Thomas & Company for 25 years. He is the primary contact with state agencies building strong relationships, lobbying for opportunities that increase quality of service and efficiencies, and insuring compliance with state specific requirements. He works with the client service team, answering technical questions related to the unemployment insurance programs administered by the individual states and oversees the processes associated with wage audits and fraudulent claim inquiries. Mike is a member of the SIDES Operations Committee and currently sits on four Operations Committee subcommittees.

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