With the state now fully reopened, the requirements for unemployment benefits that were relaxed during the COVID-19 pandemic are set to be reinstated on Sunday, July 5. The state’s Division of Employment Security announced that those who wish to receive unemployment benefits will again be required to search for work.

During the pandemic, the state saw the number of unemployment claims increase dramatically. The state lifted the requirement for work-search activities for those who filed a coronavirus-related unemployment claim. In total, the state has paid more than $2 billion in unemployment claims during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unemployment numbers are now dropping as the state has reopened and Missourians are going back to work.

Beginning July 5, claimants will again be required to perform and report three work-search activities per week to remain eligible for benefits. Qualified search activities include, but are not limited to: filing an application with an employer or through job posting sites or attending a job fair, job interview, reemployment service or skills workshop.

Individuals with an employer-submitted recall date, in approved training and those employees on the Shared Work program will be exempt from the work-search requirement.

The division also announced that a one-week wait will again be imposed for those filing for unemployment. The waiting week is the first week of a claim for which the individual is eligible for unemployment benefits, but during this week, such individual is not paid benefits. Individuals who are approved for benefits may receive compensation for the waiting week as the last payment on the regular unemployment claim.

Additionally, the division announced that employers will once again be charged for unemployment claims against their account. Employers wishing to reduce the amount of charges being made against their accounts are encouraged to report employees that either refuse to return to work or are receiving pay through the Paycheck Protection Program. Employers can report those instances through their UInteract account or by visiting labor.mo.gov.

Anyone with questions regarding unemployment benefits is encouraged to utilize the division’s virtual assistant at labor.mo.gov and visit labor.mo.gov/coronavirus.

Missouri Job Centers are available to assist unemployed workers with work-search requirements by providing customized job searches through jobs.mo.gov, job fairs, Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessment appointments, workshops to help develop and refine skills and other training programs. Employers are encouraged to post job openings on MoJobs.

For more information about services available through the Missouri Job Centers, visit jobs.mo.gov.

Rep. Jim Neely, R-Cameron, serves Missouri’s House District 8, which starts at the northern city limits of Smithville and Kearney, and includes Holt.

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