Workers around the country were trying to navigate a complex set of new regulations to get their unemployment benefits. As this was happening, computer systems became overwhelmed and needed to be updated due to forced business closures.

Many laid off workers in the St. Louis area had difficulty receiving unemployment benefits after the coronavirus outbreak if Missouri considered them an “uninsured worker.” 

Workers who had traditionally been excluded may now receive unemployment benefits

The Missouri Department of Labor attempted to distribute information for the self-employed and other non-traditional workers who may face obstacles when applying for unemployment benefits. Laws passed after the coronavirus pandemic, including the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program, make these workers eligible for payments. 

The department of labor admitted that their website still needed to be updated to reflect the fact that these workers are eligible, so their applications can be processed. Due to this problem, many eligible self-employed workers applied and received a message that said they were denied for not being an insured worker. They advised these workers to put that they currently have no wages in any state on the application to get it processed until their system is fixed. However, the department of labor admitted that it is still possible that workers could experience additional issues until their entire system is updated. 

Some other updates to the system will help other categories of workers who are affected by the pandemic, but might not have been eligible for unemployment in prior times. Workers who had already used their benefits in the past year, or those with short work histories are now eligible as well under the new law. The new application will apparently be more complex than those for traditional workers, but self-employed and others who would normally be excluded will get their payments eventually. 

Issues with unemployment

All kinds of workers face difficulties if they suddenly experience a job loss. The law in Missouri and every other state requires that an employer needs to pay all outstanding wages, overtime, and other benefits when an employee’s position is terminated. While the coronavirus outbreak caused many businesses to close down, these employers cannot use an emergency or other excuses for illegitimately ending someone’s employment. If you think that it is possible that an employer may have ended your position due to a discriminatory reason, or other forms of illegal behavior were involved, contact a local lawyer to get specific advice about how to proceed. Some attorneys focus their entire practice on helping people with wage and labor issues. 

Speak with a labor attorney in your city

There are lawyers throughout the state of Missouri who assist workers with issues such as improper payments and discrimination. To learn more about this area of the law and how an attorney can help, use the listings on USAttorneys.com to find a local legal professional. 

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