Missouri allows both total and partial unemployment claims through its Department of Employment Security (DES). Partial unemployment claims occur when you earn less than your eligible weekly benefit amount while working part-time. Instead of giving your full eligible benefit amount, Missouri offers you a percentage of it based on the amount you earned for the week. Reporting your earnings is an essential part of this process and if you fail to do so, you can face garnishments and criminal prosecution.
In Missouri, it’s possible to be partially unemployed and totally unemployed. Total unemployment requires no income at all, but partial employment occurs when you're working but making less than you would on unemployment benefits. This often happens when your employer reduces your hours significantly, or if you lose a full-time job and replace it with a part-time job. If you’re partially unemployed, you can still collect unemployment benefits, but you only receive a portion of your eligible benefit.
Missouri allows you to earn up to $20 or 20 percent of your eligible weekly benefit amount, whichever one is greater. Everything you earn over that amount is deducted from your eligible weekly benefit amount. The state sends you the rest as your partial unemployment benefits. For example, if you are eligible to receive $300 a week on unemployment, anything you earn over $60 is deductible. If you earn $100, the first $60 is allowed and the other $40 is deducted from your benefits. This leaves you with $260 for a partial benefit payment.
Once a week, you must call into the Missouri claims line or log into the claims website to certify for benefits. You answer a series of eligibility questions about the previous week, and the DES releases a payment based on the information you provide. When you certify while working part-time, you must report all gross earnings for the previous week, even if you haven’t received them yet. The state uses that information when determining your partial unemployment benefits.
Failure to Report
Failure to report your earnings accurately to the DES will result in an overpayment of benefits. Overpayment includes money you receive from the DES that you were not eligible to receive. Whether intentional or not, you must repay overpayments back to the state. DES can do this by garnishing your wages, taking your tax refund or intercepting your lottery winnings. If the inaccurate reporting was intentional, you can also face criminal prosecution, fines or banishment from the unemployment program.