Missouri receives access to additional unemployment benefit

The Federal Emergency Management Agency approved Missouri's application to participate in the Lost Wages Assistance program Aug. 15.

The move made Missouri one of the first states in the nation to receive approval under the program, which makes specific recipients qualified for an additional $300 per week of additional unemployment benefits.

Missourians whose unemployment resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic and who are eligible for $100 in benefits may qualify for the additional benefits, retroactive to Aug. 1.

"While awaiting additional guidance from FEMA and the U.S. Department of Labor, Missouri will continue as expeditiously as possible to implement the LWA program for eligible unemployed Missourians to be able to receive the additional benefits as soon as possible," according to the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

The agency continues to update its website (labor.mo.gov) with information as it comes available, including any additional eligibility requirements and timelines for payments, according to a DOLIR social media post.

For more information about filing for unemployment, go to uinteract.labor.mo.gov.

To file a claim, you'll need your Social Security number and total earnings for the previous week, from Sunday through Saturday, before taxes and deductions.

You must report what was earned during the time period, including vacation pay, paid time off, holiday pay and other income. You must also include the name, address and dates of past employment for each employer for whom you worked for the past 18 months.

If you want benefit payments by direct deposit, include bank routing and account numbers.

To file for unemployment, go to uinteract.labor.mo.gov and set up an account, then log in and file the claim. You'll need to file weekly requests for payment after each week is ended.

Following significant job losses caused by the pandemic, Missouri's labor market continued in July to rebound, according to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center's monthly jobs report.

Employment increased by 52,200 jobs in July. The unemployment rate decreased to 6.9 percent (from 7.8 percent in June).

The national unemployment rate was 10.2 percent in July.

About 211,200 Missourians remained unemployed in July, which represented a decline of about 25,000 from June.

"Due to lingering layoffs from COVID-19 shutdowns, the July 2020 seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was still more than double the July 2019 rate," the report stated. "The rate had reached a record low of 3 percent starting in July 2018, before edging up a tenth of a point in November 2018 and again in December 2018."

The rate remained at 3.2 percent through April 2019. It fluctuated through January and February 2020, "before the COVID-19 spike began in March 2020."

The Missouri unemployment rate peaked in April 2020 at 10.2 percent.

This article was edited at 3:35 p.m. Aug. 24, 2020, to correct the amount of additional unemployment benefits available.

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