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Check balance on missouri unemployment card

check balance on missouri unemployment card

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When Will I Receive Unemployment Benefits

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How to Apply for Unemployment in Missouri

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The Missouri state flag in front of a sunny sky.

Image source: Getty Images

If you're a Missourian and you've lost your job due to the COVID-19 pandemic or another reason, this is how to apply for unemployment benefits.

If you're a Missourian and you've lost your job due to the COVID-19 pandemic or another reason, this is how to apply for unemployment benefits.

Missouri state officials report a 900% increase in employment claims so far during the novel coronavirus outbreak. If you are one of those filing for benefits, you likely have questions. 

To be eligible for unemployment benefit payments in Missouri, you must:

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  • Have lost your job through no fault of your own, or have quit your job for a good cause related to the work or employer.
  • Earn at least $2,250 during your base period, with $1,500 of that earned during one quarter, and at least $750 earned during the remainder of the base period. "Base period" refers to the first four quarters of your last five quarters worked. 
  • Your total base period wages must be at least 1.5 times your highest quarter wages. 
  • Alternatively, you must have earned at least 1.5 times the taxable wage base during two of the four quarters. The taxable wage base for 2020 is $11,500.
  • Register at

How do I apply for unemployment benefits?

The easiest way to apply for Missouri unemployment benefits is online. Due to long wait times, you may want to avoid applying via the toll-free telephone number (800) 320-2519.

Be prepared to provide:

  • Personal identification
  • Last date of employment
  • Date you expect to return to work (if applicable)
  • Amount of vacation or holiday pay at time of termination
  • Pension information
  • If you received a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) letter, you will also need to provide it when you file your claim.

How much money will I receive in unemployment benefits? 

The maximum weekly benefit in Missouri is $320. If you are eligible to receive unemployment, your benefit will be 4% of your average quarterly wages during the two highest paid quarters of your base period.

You can choose to have your benefit check automatically deposited in your bank account, or loaded onto a prepaid debit card.

How long can I collect unemployment benefits?  

Missouri allows recipients to collect benefits for up to 20 weeks. However, the CARES Act extends that period by 13 weeks, allowing you to collect unemployment benefits for up to 33 weeks.

What if my unemployment claim is denied?

If your claim is denied, you can appeal the decision through UInteract, by mail, or by fax. You have 30 days from the date printed on the Letter of Determination to file an appeal. An Appeals Tribunal referee will conduct a hearing, during which you will have a chance to present evidence and argue your case.  

Just as the current pandemic will pass, so will this period of job loss. In the meantime, your unemployment benefits can help get you through. 

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7 min read


Help Topics for Unemployed Workers


You must:

  • Lose your job through no fault of your own OR quit with good cause related to the work or the employer.
  • Make at least $2,250—at least $1,500 during one of the calendar quarters, and at least $750 during the remainder of the year—from an insured employer during your base period. (See chart below).
  • AND 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.

Special Notes:

  • If your hours were reduced from full-time to part-time, you also may be eligible for partial unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. See the “Part-Time Work” Section.
  • To remain eligible:
    • You must report all wages earned each week, even if you won’t be paid until later. This includes tips, commissions, bonuses, show-up time, military reserve pay, board, and lodging.
    • You must report other forms of pay such as vacation, holiday, Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) pay, pension, etc.
    • You must be able and available for work each week, meaning no illness, injury, or personal circumstances would keep you from working.
    • Refusing an offer of work may result in denial of UI benefits.

Benefit Amount

  • Your weekly benefit amount (WBA) is 4 percent of the average of your two highest quarters during the base period.
  • Twenty weeks of benefits is the maximum allowed during your benefit year.

Child Support Garnishments

The Division of Child Support Enforcement has the ability to intercept up to 50 percent of a claimant's weekly benefits if they are delinquent on their child support payments. The Division of Employment Security does not have the ability to alter, remove, or add child support intercepts. Any questions regarding the interception of unemployment benefits for Child Support should be directed to Child Support Enforcement at 866-313-9960.

Ways to Receive Benefits

  1. Direct Deposit: Click here to fill out the Division of Employment Security's (DES) electronic form or call your Regional Claims Center (RCC) to submit account information.


  2. Missouri Access MasterCard®: If you do not choose to use direct deposit, you will receive your UI benefits on the prepaid debit card. It will be mailed to you with instructions within two weeks of establishing your claim.
MO Access Debit Card

To avoid withdrawal fees when using the debit card, you can choose to get cash back when making a purchase at many retailers and grocery stores. You receive one free withdrawal per calendar week (Sunday 12:00 am - Saturday 11:59 pm CST) from all Central Bancompany and MoneyPass ATMs. You will then be charged $2.00 each time you withdraw. The ATM owner also may charge you a service fee for any transaction. Alternatively, you can also take the card to a teller at any Central Bank branch location or any bank or credit union displaying the MasterCard acceptance mark for a cash advance. The advance carries a $5.00 fee. To find out if your bank accepts MasterCard, contact it directly. All purchase transactions are free.

Maintaining Your Claim

In order to remain eligible for UI benefit payments there are a number of steps that you must complete each week. A failure to complete them may result in the denial of benefits. If you are a member of a union with a hiring hall, you can waive step 2. If you have a recall date within eight weeks (or 16 weeks if requested by your employer and approved by the Division Director) , you can waive steps 2 and 3.

  1. File your weekly request for payment every week as early as Sunday.
    • Log in at, select Weekly Request for Payment and follow the prompts. Be sure to update your current address if it has changed.
    • Have your Social Security Number, your (Personal Identification Number (PIN), your total earnings before deductions and any vacation/holiday pay information ready.
    • If your weekly request for payment is filed using the Internet, you will receive confirmation upon completion. Keep this for your records.
    • In order to continue receiving payments, you must repeat these steps every week you wish to receive UI benefits. If you start working full-time again, stop filing. Your claim will close automatically after 28 days.
  2. Report in person, if required, to a Missouri Division of Workforce Development (DWD) Job Center or other designated office for reemployment services. You will be notified by mail if required to report.
    • Visit and click Locate a Missouri Job Center to find a location. Be sure to have your UI PIN with you when you report.
    • DWD Staff will help you register for their online career search resources.
    • Get help with résumé writing and participate in mock interviews to help you get back to work faster.
    • Job Center staff cannot answer specific questions about your claim.
  3. Search actively for work.
    • Make enough contacts each week with potential employers to meet the required number you were given when you registered (this number varies according to your area). Failure to make your required job contacts may result in denial of UI benefits.
    • Record all of your job contacts on the “Work Search Record” in case the DES requests it. Get the form here.

When to Expect Benefits

If you are eligible, you can expect to start receiving UI benefit payments within 22 days of your initial claim filing. Be sure to file a weekly request for payment each week, even if you are not yet receiving a benefit payment. You will not receive unemployment benefits for any week that was not requested in a timely manner. If there are any issues with your claim, payment may be delayed several weeks while an investigation is conducted to determine your eligibility to receive benefits. Benefits will not arrive on the same day each week, and the DES will not mail you a notice when they process. Your benefits are subject to federal and state income taxes. Contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for more information.

Tracking Your Claim & Benefits

Claims – Click My Account/Claim Status or call the Regional Claims Center for your area and when asked for the purpose of your call, say Claim Inquiry. These resources are available 24 hours a day to see if unemployment benefits have been paid, when they have been paid and how they have been paid. To see if benefits have been released to your debit card, check the DES resources first. Benefits are normally available on your debit card after 5:30 p.m. on the day they are released (Monday - Friday).

Benefits – To check your debit card balance and view your entire transaction history visit, or call 888-775-3445. You are allowed one free call using the automated voice response system.  Each additional call costs $.50. Contacting a customer service representative costs $3.00 per call. The Internet is always free.

Payment information is available two business days after you file your weekly request for payment for benefits.

The Appeal Process

You may be disqualified from receiving UI benefits if you’ve been discharged for misconduct connected with work, quit for reasons not attributable to work or your employer, refused a suitable work offer, or are not able or available to work. You also may be determined ineligible for not having sufficient wages in the base period. You have a right to appeal any decision denying you benefits if you do not agree with the circumstances.

  • You will receive a “Notice of Deputy’s Determination” in the mail.
  • You have 30 days to file an appeal. The determination will list the date by which you need to file your appeal. All appeals must be filed by mail or fax. There is no form to use. You must submit your signed appeal in writing. You cannot file an appeal by phone. You must continue to file weekly request for payment during the appeal process, or you cannot be paid even if the decision is in your favor.
  • Your employer also has the right to appeal if he/she disagrees with a determination. You will receive notice if this happens. It is important that you participate in all hearings concerning your claim in order to give your testimony.
  • Most appeals hearings are over the phone, but you have the right to an in-person hearing if you choose.
  • For more information on appeals and how to file an appeal, click here.

Overpayments & Fraud

If you receive UI benefits to which you were not entitled, you must repay them, even if the mistake was not your fault. DES will notify you if there is an overpayment. You may pay the amount due in a lump sum or set up a payment plan. If you do not voluntarily repay an amount that you were overpaid through no fault of your own, then DES will recover the amount owed by taking any UI benefits you may become eligible for in the future until the overpayment has been completely repaid.  If you do not voluntarily repay an amount overpaid to you because of your intentional nondisclosure or misrepresentation of material facts, then in addition to taking future UI benefits, DES may establish judicial liens on your property, garnish your wages, and intercept your federal and state income tax returns and lottery winnings. If you deliberately misrepresent facts to claim UI benefits, this is considered fraud, and you may also face canceled benefits, fines, or prison.

Waiting Week

The waiting week is the first week of your claim for which you are eligible for UI benefits, but not paid. You must file a weekly request for payment for this week. You may receive compensation for the waiting week as the last payment on your regular UI claim.

Part-Time Work

Part-Time Work and Partial Benefits

You may receive some UI benefits for a week if you work less than full time. You must continue to look for and be able to work. You must report your gross wages (wages before deductions) earned each week and not just take home pay. To report your earnings for the week, simply add the total hours you worked Sunday through Saturday for the week for which you are requesting payment and multiply your total hours worked by your hourly rate of pay. For example if you worked a total of 12 hours at a rate of $8.50 per hour, you would report $102 in earnings for the week (12 hours x $8.50/hour = $102).

The benefits paid when working less than full time will be reduced: You are allowed to earn $20 or 20% of your weekly benefit amount, whichever is greater, before the wages you earned are deducted from your weekly benefit amount. To calculate your partial unemployment benefits, take your weekly benefit amount and multiply it by 20%. If that number is greater than $20 you will use it, otherwise use $20. Subtract that number from the wages you earned during the week. That amount is your deduction, which will be subtracted from your WBA and rounded down to an even dollar amount. See example below. Any withholding for federal taxes, etc., is taken from this amount. Check out the DES online partial benefit calculator.

Weekly Benefit Amount:
Allowable Wages: $279.00 x 20%=
Wages for the Week (Rounded up to the next whole dollar)
Minus Allowable Wages of $20 or 20%
Wages to be Deducted from Your Weekly Benefit Amount
Pay Amount for the Week: $279.00 WBA - $46.20 =
Pay Amount to You (Rounded down to the next lower dollar):

Trying Out a New Job

If you take a new job and quit within 28 days because it was considered “unsuitable work” under Missouri Employment Security Law, you may still be eligible for UI benefits. You must report this employment and separation. The DES will determine suitability.

Trade Adjustment Assistance

If you lost your job due to foreign trade, you may be eligible for assistance under the Trade Act from the U.S. Department of Labor. This includes training, training allowances, job search and relocation assistance, and other support services. Visit or contact your local DWD Career Center for information.


The Basics of Unemployment Benefits: Who Qualifies, How to Apply, How Much You’ll Get

One year after the novel coronavirus pandemic began crippling the U.S. economy – especially the job market – the numbers remain discouraging: 18.2 million Americans were still filing for weekly unemployment benefits as of late February; 770,000 workers filed initial unemployment claims in the week ended March 13; and the unemployment rate  – while improving slightly – has plateaued around 6.2%.  

For many laid-off workers, this may be their first time dealing with the unemployment-benefits system, a joint state and federal program that provides those out of work with temporary yet steady cash payments to help them financially while finding a new job.

The good news: A new round of stimulus coverage passed by Congress earlier this month – known as the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 – further extends the period for those who’ve filed for unemployment benefits to receive supplemental weekly federal benefits.

Let us help you navigate the changing unemployment-benefits system to get you the help you deserve. The sooner you apply, the better.

1 of 10

Who Qualifies for Unemployment Benefits?

A man wearing a COVID mask mourns his job loss

Unemployment benefits are available to workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own, such as a layoff. Those fired for cause (such as misconduct), or who leave voluntarily or refuse an offer for work, need not apply.

In March 2020, when the coronavirus first disrupted the economy, Congress granted unemployment benefits to workers who weren’t previously covered. Those who now qualify include:

  • Workers permanently or temporarily laid off due to coronavirus measures
  • Workers whose employers reduced their work hours due to coronavirus measures
  • Self-employed workers who have lost income due to coronavirus measures
  • Workers quarantined and unable to work due to coronavirus
  • Workers unable to work due to risk of exposure to coronavirus
  • Workers unable to work while caring for a family member due to coronavirus

Each state, district and territory sets its own guidelines for who is eligible for unemployment benefits and how much they’ll receive. You must meet your state’s criteria for wages earned or time worked during an established period, known as a “base period,” which is usually the first four out of the last five completed calendar quarters before the time that your claim is filed, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. (Due to changes in the law over the past year, some states may not have updated their published guidelines yet. If you think you’re eligible, you should apply now in the state where you worked.)

The general rule of thumb is that unemployment benefits are based on a percentage of one’s earnings – roughly between 40% and 60% – over a recent 52-week period, and paid out weekly over a period of between 12 to 28 weeks, depending on the state. (Federal stimulus measures have extended the benefits period. More on that below.)

If you’ve received a severance package from your former employer – usually in the form of a lump-sum payment – it’s important to check with your state’s labor department to see if you qualify for unemployment insurance. Some states, such as California, don’t disqualify you from receiving benefits if you have severance pay, be it a lump sum or in regular installments. But Texas prohibits people from qualifying for unemployment benefits while receiving most types of severance pay.

2 of 10

How to Apply for Unemployment Benefits

A woman applying for unemployment benefits using a laptop computer

Contact your state’s unemployment insurance program office immediately upon losing your job, especially in light of the sharp increase of claims filed throughout the country over the past year due to the pandemic. Check with the office to determine the preferred method of registering in the system, be it online or by phone. While doing so in person was traditionally an option (that’s how we got “unemployment lines”), it’s a bad idea now.

Keep in mind that registering your claim for unemployment benefits takes time to process, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, so budget your pocketbook accordingly before your first payment appears. According to the U.S. Labor Department’s CareerOneStop site, it usually takes two to three weeks after filing your claim to receive your first benefit check, but that estimate was pre-pandemic. Many state unemployment offices continue to struggle to keep up with the spike in demand.

Some states, and the District of Columbia, normally require a one-week waiting period. In that case, you will file your first unemployment claim (in which you list the jobs you applied to that week), but you won’t receive a payment. Rather, your first payment would apply to the second week of your unemployment claim. Many states, including California, Hawaii and New York, have waived their waiting period as a result of the recent pandemic. And, under the new $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, the federal government will continue to provide temporary full funding for the first week of unemployment (more below). Check your state’s site about changes to the waiting period.

3 of 10

How the Latest Coronavirus Stimulus Package Changes the Rules for Unemployment Benefits

A woman carrying an armload of papers looks at her layoff notice

Under the new $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which was signed into law by President Joe Biden in early March, American workers who are unemployed will receive federal unemployment benefit payments of $300 per week – on top of standard benefit levels – through September 6, 2021.

What’s more, as much as $10,200 of unemployment benefits received in 2020 will be exempt from tax for households whose incomes were less than $150,000. (Note: The IRS is working on 2020 tax form and software updates to account for the new exemption. If you already filed your 2020 tax return, don't rush to file an amended return – wait until the IRS issues instructions. More details below.)

4 of 10

Get Your Paperwork In Order Before Filing for Unemployment Benefits

A man on a laptop takes notes on a notepad

The better prepared you are, the faster your unemployment claim will be processed (and happier is the rep who processes your claim). Assemble supporting paperwork as if you’re going to the Department of Motor Vehicles — but with the reward of a paycheck.

Your Social Security number alone is not enough (but it’s a start). You will also need to provide the name, address, phone number and dates of employment from your most recent employer. For most people, this is all you need. Some states, such as Utah, require a driver’s license as a form of identification. If you’re not a U.S. citizen, but legally authorized to work in the U.S., you will need to provide your Alien Registration Number (that eight- to nine-digit USCIS number). For ex-military, have handy your DD214 form, which is your certificate of release or discharge from active duty (if you don’t have it, you can request a copy through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ milConnect website). Former federal employees will need to provide either their Standard Form 8 (SF-8) or Standard Form 50 (SF-50). If you receive, or will receive, severance pay from your former employer, you will need to provide documentation detailing your payout. Qualified pension recipients should have their pension documentation at the ready.

5 of 10

How to Calculate Your Unemployment Benefits

A woman uses a calculator, a laptop and paperwork to calculate benefits

Each state’s unemployment office provides its own calculator – and explanation – to help you determine how much you will receive on a weekly basis. Formulas can be as easy as taking the highest quarter of wages in your base period and dividing it by the number of weeks the state grants you unemployment compensation; more complex formulas incorporate additional factors.

Massachusetts’ Department of Unemployment Assistance, for example, provides an unemployment benefits determination calculator in which you enter the total wages you received in the past four quarters. Upon entering the quarterly amounts, the calculator computes your weekly pay and the number of weeks you’ll be paid unemployment benefits (26 weeks, in the case of the Bay State).

Keep in mind that these calculators are intended to help you estimate your benefits and are intended only for advisory purposes. Ultimately, it will be your state’s computer system that will crunch your numbers and determine your official weekly amount. Since benefits for the self-employed are a new phenomenon, don’t expect estimates.

6 of 10

Yes, Unemployment Benefits Are Taxed. Sorry!

A woman reads a notice about her unemployment benefits taxes

Discovering that your unemployment benefits are taxed may not be nearly as shocking as the news of your job loss, but it can be just as tough to accept. The reality is that unemployment benefits are a form of income, and that income is taxable at both the federal and state level.

But a special tax break under the new American Rescue Plan allows Americans who received unemployment benefits in 2020 the ability to exempt up to $10,200 in unemployment benefits from federal income tax for households with an adjusted gross income under $150,000. If you're married, you and your spouse can each exclude up to $10,200 of unemployment compensation.

Yet there's one big question surrounding this new tax exemption: How do you claim it? The IRS doesn't have an answer for everyone yet – but it's working on it. How to handle the new tax break will also depend on whether or not you already filed your 2020 tax return. If you haven't filed yet, the IRS has updated the Schedule 1 (Form 1040) instructions and provided an Unemployment Compensation Exclusion Worksheet for paper filers. It's also working with tax software companies to update their products so that users will be able to claim the exemption on their 2020 tax returns. So, if you received unemployment compensation last year, you might want to wait a little bit longer before using one of these software products to complete your 2020 return.

If you already filed your 2020 tax return, the IRS is working on a way to automatically issue refunds for the $10,200" exemption. That would prevent the need to file an amended return to claim the new tax break if you filed your 2020 return before the exemption was enacted.

What’s more, just because the federal government is waiving taxes on the first $10,200 of your 2020 unemployment benefits, that doesn't mean your state will too. Although some states don't tax, or don't fully tax, unemployment compensation, most states do. However, a handful of states exempt unemployment compensation just for 2020 and/or 2021 to help residents impacted by the pandemic. Other states are adopting the $10,200 exemption for state tax purposes. To see how your state treats unemployment benefits, see Taxes on Unemployment Benefits: A State-by-State Guide.

Normally, you have the option to have as much as 10% of your weekly unemployment benefits withheld for federal taxes. Taxpayers will receive a Form 1099-G from the IRS, which shows the amount received and the amount of any federal income tax removed from your benefits. Taxes may be withheld from unemployment benefits at the request of the benefits claimant by using Form W-4V, while others who choose not to have their taxes withheld may need to make estimated tax payments during the year, according to the IRS.

7 of 10

File for Unemployment Benefits Where You Work, Not Where You Live

A nighttime view of  the U.S. Capitol and traffic

You should file your claim in the state where you worked. For instance, for residents of Maryland and Virginia who work in the District of Columbia, it is required that you file your claim with the District of Columbia.

If you worked in multiple states, check with the unemployment office of the state you currently live in for information on how to file your claim appropriately with other states.

8 of 10

You Can Get Unemployment Benefits Even If You Still Have Some Work

A COVID-masked employee stands behind the counter of a coffee shop

Obviously, if you’re still working full-time, then you’re not unemployed and, therefore, not eligible for unemployment benefits. But if, say, you’ve lost one job but kept another, or if you get paid for a temporary assignment, you can still collect unemployment benefits. However, they will be reduced accordingly to compensate for the additional income you’re receiving. You must report your gross wages earned each week, not just your take-home pay.

In Missouri, for example, partial unemployment benefits are calculated by taking your weekly wages and subtracting $20, or 20% of your weekly benefit amount, whichever is greater. That amount is your deduction, which is then subtracted from your weekly benefit and rounded down to an even dollar amount. Any withholding for federal taxes and such is taken from this amount.

Although state policies vary, as a general rule, if you perform part-time or temporary work, which includes self-employment, you are still required to fulfill your state’s requirement of providing a list of new job searches each week. The District of Columbia, for example, requires listing two job applications each week (although this requirement has been suspended during the coronavirus pandemic; filers aren’t required to list two applications, for now). And your state wants you to have the time to actively look for full-time employment, with the selfish goal of stopping payments of unemployment benefits to you when you return to work full time.

9 of 10

Budget for Life on Unemployment Benefits

A man sitting at a desk makes a list of his creditors

Now that you’ve calculated how much you'll receive in unemployment benefits on a weekly basis, there’s no better time to put pen to paper and budget for the next few months. “This is an important time to determine your fixed and discretionary expenses,” says Lisa Brown, chief strategy officer at financial planning firm Brightworth in Atlanta. Brown recommends speaking with your mortgage company if you’re a homeowner and inquiring with creditors, including credit card companies, to see if there are special programs for those whose jobs are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and to see if you’re eligible to defer or reduce monthly payments above and beyond what the government is proposing.

Creditors in particular want you to know that they’re concerned about your financial wellbeing, and your ability to pay your bills. You’ve likely seen e-mails from mortgage services, credit card companies and banks expressing their commitment to help you stay on top of your finances. While it’s better to maintain your monthly payments pre-virus and pre-unemployment, it might be worth it to reach out and inquire about your options to reduce your minimum monthly payments.

Brown also recommends that you look at how much money you have in your bank, and stretch it out as much as possible to avoid tapping into retirement accounts (which could come with a significant tax penalty).

10 of 10

More Resources for Unemployed Workers From the Labor Department

A view of the sign in front of the U.S. Department of Labor

The U.S. Labor Department's CareerOneStop site provides links to each state’s relevant agency to speed your path to filing claims for unemployment benefits. The site also boasts a wealth of resources aimed at getting you back to work: education/training courses, job search resources and scores of toolkits for researching careers.

check balance on missouri unemployment card


  1. @CoLeOn 707 Are you seeing this amount in your claims history or in your weekly benefit amount on your homepage of UI Online?

  2. Can you apply for the Cash Rewards student card as a student, then get the regular cash rewards a year later? Would love to have $5k quarterly spend on certain categories.

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