Eligibility for Unemployment Benefits in Missouri

Missouri qualifications for unemployment benefits are determined by the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations and its Division of Employment Security.

All unemployed individuals in the state who meet these criteria will be granted unemployment insurance eligibility.

First of all, you can only be eligible for benefits in Missouri if the reason for separation from your employer was objective, and not due to your own fault. Thus, unemployed MO residents who have quit their jobs voluntarily or who were fired due to misconduct do not meet basic eligibility for EDD and cannot submit an application.

If you are a worker who qualifies for unemployment benefits in Missouri, you must maintain your eligibility for each week that you are unemployed in order to continue receiving unemployment insurance.

Missouri Unemployment Resources

Who Qualifies for Unemployment Benefits in Missouri?

The main factor for obtaining unemployment insurance eligibility is the reason for your unemployment. To be a worker who qualifies for unemployment benefits in Missouri, you must be without work through no fault of your own.

Acceptable examples include if the company you worked for went out of business, if your project or assignment ended, or if there was not a sufficient workload for you. Unemployment insurance is provided by the state using taxes paid by employers. No money is deducted from workers salaries. This is why workers who were fired or who quit their job for non-objective reasons do not meet Missouri qualifications for unemployment benefits.


Besides the reason for separation from the employer, potential recipients of unemployment benefits must also meet financial requirements. In Missouri, this means that you must have earned at least $2,250 in your base period, or at least $1,500 during one of the base period quarters and at least $750 during the rest of the base period.

These earnings must have been received from an insured employer. Additionally, your total wages during the base period must have been at least 1.5 times that of your highest quarter wages, or you must have made at least $19,500 during two of the four base period quarters.

Note: If you worked reduced hours at a company and you are now unemployed, you can apply for partial unemployment benefits in Missouri.

What are the Requirements to get Unemployment Benefits and Maintain Them in Missouri?

Besides learning how to qualify for unemployment in Missouri, you are also required to file a claim with the MO Department of Labor and Industrial Relations for every week of unemployment. This is called continued unemployment insurance eligibility, for which you must report your job-seeking activities and any offers you have received to the department in order to continue receiving benefits.

Typically, during your weeks of unemployment, you are required to comply with the following:

  • You must be physically and mentally able to work.
  • You must not reject work.
  • You must be able to start a new job immediately, and arrange transportation and child care if necessary.
  • You must report all wages for each week of employment, regardless of the pay toll period.
  • You must report your job-seeking activities to the department.
  • You may be required to participate in reemployment programs and activities.

Note that failure to meet any of these qualifications for unemployment benefits can result in either denial or termination of your unemployment insurance. Such programs have been established to provide temporary financial assistance to unemployed workers when they are between jobs in order to help them get by.

You can apply for benefits on the first day of unemployment in order to start receiving insurance as soon as possible. However, the funds provided to you should not be equated to a full salary, as the amount of benefits will be lower than your previous weekly wage or monthly salary. Also, if you are criminally charged for a crime committed at your workplace or you are incarcerated for any reason, you may lose eligibility for unemployment in Missouri.

Note: If you accept a job and then quit within 28 days because it was unsuitable, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits under the MO Employment Security Law.

What Is Unemployment Insurance?

Unemployment insurance is a type of government compensation that can be obtained by newly unemployed workers who require financial assistance while they purse new work opportunities. These unemployment benefits are available to eligible individuals for a pre-determined period and help them cover rent, food and other necessary expenses. To find out more about unemployment insurance and how you can start receiving government compensation today, download our guide.

Can Everyone Get Unemployment Benefits?

Unemployment insurance is only available to qualified individuals. Applicants must have an acceptable reason for being out of work, they must meet past income thresholds and more. Find out if you qualify to receive unemployment compensation by downloading our comprehensive guide here.