The past year has been good to Missouri. Back in 2014, the state announced the payment of its unemployment insurance trust fund debt, which signaled a decline in tax rates for local employers. Now, legislators are working out a reduction in benefit weeks, which would limit the eligibility period of jobless claimants.

According to an Associated Press report, the goal would be to cap the number of weeks the unemployed can claim benefits to only 13. This change is coming on the heels of a declining unemployment rate and an improved economy. While businesses’ payments into the system are going down soon, the measure, should it pass, would temporarily increase payments as a way to shore up the trust fund for the coming years.

Those in favor of the proposal believe that it will keep the fund solvent and limit the financial impact on local employers by preventing the state from borrowing from the federal government – like it did during the Great Recession.

Legislation gains traction in state Congress
The legislation to reduce the number of benefit weeks has recently gained traction in Missouri’s Congress. A separate report from the Associated Press noted that the House voted to revive the bill, with the goal to get jobless residents back in the labor market.

Bill sponsor Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick, R-Shell Knob, pointed out that the limited weeks would encourage the unemployed to resume their job searches as soon as possible.

“When the time is ticking, people will get out there and get after it,” explained Fitzpatrick, the AP reported.

“Missouri could cap benefits at only 13 weeks.”

The 13-week proposal is tied to the state’s unemployment rate. As the rate declines, so too does the number of eligible weeks. If the proposal passes, it would create a cap of 13 weeks when the rate dips below 6 percent. At the moment, the maximum is 20 weeks.

According to the Missouri Department of Economic Development, the state’s jobless rate was at 5.4 percent in December, down slightly compared to the previous month. That figure is also good for the lowest since April 2008.

If the legislation is approved, Missouri would join a short list of states with unemployment insurance tied to the jobless rate: Florida, Georgia, Kansas and North Carolina, the AP explained.

At Corporate Cost Control, we work closely with employers across the country to better manage the nuances of unemployment insurance. Legislation changes on the state level could impact you today, and we welcome any questions or concerns you may have on a wide range of topics.


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