Attorney Michelle Faron was recently interviewed by Corinne Ruff of St. Louis Public Radio about the difficulties that Missourians are facing with respect to unemployment benefits associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Ms. Ruff’s article was published on St. Louis Public Radio’s website and later picked up by various news sources, including the St. Louis Post Dispatch and the Associated Press.
She reached out to our firm because we have been handling a few appeals on behalf of Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts in St. Louis. We have seen a recent uptick in the number of potential clients reaching out to us who have been denied unemployment benefits despite being previously approved. Many of these individuals have been told by the Missouri Division of Employment Security that they have to repay large sums of money that were erroneously paid out to them.
What Qualifies Someone for Unemployment Benefits in Missouri?
Whether individuals will ultimately have to repay those sums is a complicated question to answer. In general, if somebody was discharged from their job, he or she is entitled to receive unemployment benefits. This includes people who were laid off due to pandemic-related issues.
Unfortunately, the State of Missouri has declared that individuals who “voluntarily quit” their job due to concerns of COVID-19 infection do not qualify for unemployment benefits. This can get very complex when considering the ramifications of the CARES Act and the PUA in particular.
The Missouri Division of Employment Security’s Mistake
The issue is even further complicated by the fact that, in so many cases, the Missouri Division of Employment Security initially approved many applications for unemployment benefits to only later issue a determination that the original approval was incorrect. Missouri Revised Statutes §288.380 permits the collection of unemployment overpayments that are the result of fraud.
If you need assistance with your unemployment appeal, we may be able to help. Contact us here.